British Columbia

Swim club calls on Vancouver Park Board to resume pool rentals

Members of the Canadian Dolphins Swim Club are struggling to find pool time to train, according to the club's president, as Vancouver's public pools have not been allowing club rentals since reopening in early July.

4 outdoor city pools are open — 3 with lanes — but competitive swimmers are struggling to find training time

A member of the Canadian Dolphins Swim Club is seen in this undated photo. The club is struggling to find pool time for its roughly 270 members, as COVID-19 facility closures continue in Vancouver. (Canadian Dolphins Swim Club)

Like many sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, swimming was put on hold for members of the competitive Canadian Dolphins Swim Club.

There have been dry-land training sessions over Zoom, according to club president Jeannie Lo, but it doesn't compare to spending time in the water.

Now that the Vancouver Park Board has opened most of its outdoor pools for public use, Lo is hoping the club will be able to resume the rental arrangement that it enjoyed before the pandemic.

She and the club have been sending emails to staff and politicians, imploring them to allow club members to get pool time in the mornings before public hours — as they have previously done — but so far, no luck.

Second Beach pool is pictured July 13, 2020, the first day after reopening to the public amid COVID-19 pandemic in Vancouver. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

"Unfortunately I haven't received a reply from any of them, not even an acknowledgement of my emails," said Lo.

The group used to rent time at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. When it would close for regular maintenance, they moved practice to the Second Beach outdoor pool.

The Vancouver Aquatic Centre, along with eight other indoor pools, remain closed. Second Beach and three other outdoor pools — all but one of which have lanes — reopened this month.

The Park Board sent CBC News a brief written statement saying, "the pools don't have capacity for swim clubs at this time."

Lo said a coach with the club had been passing by the Second Beach pool in the mornings and there appeared to be plenty of capacity — nothing was happening before normal public hours, which start between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. depending on the day of the week. 

The club has managed to find a private pool to rent at the Jewish Community Centre, but according to Lo, it's smaller, meaning only 30 of the clubs roughly 270 swimmers can get time in the water — and it's more expensive.

Confusion over lane booking

Lo also understood that club members under 19 weren't permitted to book time in the lanes, as the system to buy tickets said adults only.

Access to the pool lane swimming is limited to 45-minute slots, for which tickets must be purchased online in advance.

On Friday, the park board clarified that while the website says adults only, there's information detailing that youth over 13 are permitted in the lanes.


Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.ca

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

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