British Columbia

B.C. teachers' strike: If there's no school, can pools stay open?

With the ongoing teachers' dispute and the continuing warm summer weather, some Vancouver families want the city to keep its outdoor pools open past Labour Day.

With hot weather and labour uncertainty, some want Vancouver's outdoor pools to stay open in the fall

Kits Pool will be one of 43 locations to have free public Wi-Fi in a new plan from Vancouver city council. (Conrad Olson)

The ongoing B.C. teachers' labour dispute and the continuing warm summer weather has seen many Vancouverites turning to their local outdoor pools for family days out.

But most of Metro Vancouver's outdoor pools are due to close after Labour Day and the teachers' strike looks set to roll on into the start of the school year, leaving many families at a loss.

The Early Edition's Tricia Lo spoke to swimmers at Vancouver's Second Beach Pool, who say they want the city to keep its outdoors pools open.

"There's a possibility the teacher's strike will continue. It would be nice if they could keep the pools open longer so kids had somewhere to go, but I don't think they factored that into their budget to extend the pools," said one swimmer.

"It's very very sad because we just come here like three times a week. And my kids, they love the slides and everything. And it's always busy. Even if it's a little chilly, you find people here," said another.

So can an exception be made for a September school strike?

"In short, no," says Vancouver Park Board spokesperson Daria Wojnarski, "Every year, someone suggests we keep the pool open for various reasons. Maybe because it's a school strike or the amazing weather."

Many families want the pools to stay open to keep children entertained during the ongoing teachers' strike. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

Sean Healy, supervisor of aquatic services for the Vancouver Park Board and the City of Vancouver, says it's all about weather and routine.

"It’s not about whether it’s possible or not, it’s actually because we find that come September, the weather changes significantly," said Healy. "Moreover, all of our regular clientele are used to going back to their favourite indoor pools."

Healy said the Vancouver Aquatic Centre usually has maintenance over the summer so it is ready for reopening in the fall.

"Then the rest of the pools are back to their regular schedules for the fall, as many people are also back to routines for the fall.

"Many kids are going back to school and parents are back to a different routine  and so our indoor pools pick up where our outdoor pools left off."

That said, Kitsilano Pool will remain open until September 14. All other Vancouver outdoor pools will close on September 1.


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