After many months of renovations, the Canada Games Aquatic Centre at the Tournament Capital Centre will reopen this weekend, on Saturday, Jan. 2, for public swim lessons and competitive swim clubs. The facility will reopen to the general public on Friday, Jan. 15.
“The updates are impressive and change how people move through the space, as do the COVID safety protocols,” said Andrew Smeaton, the city’s aquatics supervisor. “By starting with our public swim lessons and aquatic clubs only, we can ensure these groups get oriented to new procedures, and then we will be ready for drop-in users and the general public on Jan. 15.”
Barring any new pandemic-related restrictions from public health, residents can expect COVID-19 protocols to be in place, including:
• Masks are required within the TCC and in all dry areas of the pool building up to when you are entering the pool (the city recommends you leave your mask with your towel on the pool deck).
• Traffic flow within change rooms has been designed for one-way traffic flow, with patrons expected to stay at least two metres (six feet) from other people.
• All swimmers in lessons up to and including Swim Kids 3 (programs in the leisure pool) must be accompanied in the water by a person who is at least 16 years of age.
• The sauna and steam room will remain closed until they are approved to open by public health.
• The whirlpool has a maximum capacity of three people.
• Leisure swims and public swims have a maximum capacity of 50 people.
• Lap swims will be limited depending on the availability of lanes. The maximum capacity for lap swims is six people per double lane, up to a total of 48 swimmers when the entire main pool is open.
• Separate programs will not be scheduled concurrently. For example, there will be no public swim scheduled during swim lessons.
• Leisure swims and public swims are limited to 50 people and swimmers must register in advance.
The first public swim is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 15, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and registration is required. Swimmers will be able to register online at Kamloops.ca/PerfectMind as of 9 a.m. on Jan. 9 and one week in advance of each subsequent public swim. Swim schedules are available at Kamloops.ca/Swim and are subject to change based on public health orders.
Effective Jan. 2, 2021, the TCC hours will be expanded and Westsyde Pool and Fitness Centre will return to regular hours.
The TCC will be open Mondays to Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.. The Westsyde Pool and Fitness Centre will be open Mondays to Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 3 p.m to 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Much of the work during the $13.5-million project at the TCC involved mechanical, heating and electrical system updates, but users will notice significant upgrades to the change rooms and pool amenities.
The new change rooms have been designed to improve accessibility, inclusiveness, safety and security. New individual-use change rooms provide all pool users with their own private space to change and shower, with shared access to the common areas leading to the pool deck. There are now 20 individual change rooms, 11 family rooms and three fully accessible change rooms with adjustable beds, overhead lifts and wheelchair-accessible showers and sinks.
On the pool deck, swimmers will notice the sauna and steam room have been relocated to accommodate a new spray park — complete with water cannons, a splash pad and other water features — and a large whirlpool with an accessible lift to provide direct access for people in wheelchairs.
“Accessibility and inclusivity are important themes to the improvements we’ve made,” Smeaton said. “From the change room renovations to the accessible lifts and the new spectator entrance, people of all abilities now have improved access to aquatics in our community.”
The project budget was $13.5 million and has been partially funded by a $2.5 million grant from the federal and provincial governments’ Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program-CleanBC Communities Fund Program