SUNDRE — While the provincial government’s announcement that Phase 2 of the economic relaunch strategy would be rolled out earlier than originally anticipated was welcomed, the Aquaplex society will not yet be opening the indoor pool and fitness centre’s doors.
“It was a kind of a surprise reaction,” said Roy Cummings, the Sundre and District Aquatic Society’s president, when asked about last week's announcement.
“We knew it was coming at some point in time,” he said.
“It’s great that we can start looking at how we’re going to open and when we can open,” said the society president.
“Once that announcement was made, the Aquaplex and myself (started) receiving numerous calls and texts, wondering if we’re going to be open on (June 12).”
But he added the volunteer-run operation was in no position to immediately welcome people to the facility on that day as per the government’s plan.
“No doubt it’s a very complex and costly venture to follow the protocols and the requirements recommended by Alberta Health Services.”
First and foremost, the society wants to ensure the safety of not only patrons who frequent the Aquaplex, but also staff, he said.
“Our manager’s in the process now of gathering information and trying to put stuff in place so we could possibly look at opening some time in the near future,” he said, reluctant to speculate on a specific date.
“No doubt the sooner the better.”
However, facilities in large municipalities like Calgary and Edmonton have many employees to alleviate the workload, and even they’re considering a phased-in reopening over the coming weeks, he said.
“They didn’t really give a date either,” he said.
“Us, being a bunch of volunteers trying to ensure that everything is up to speed and what Alberta Health Services wants, may take a little longer than the large cities.”
The board is currently in the process of figuring out a sensible plan, he said.
“It’s a tough time, we want to do the right thing. We got to hire staff back, they got to be COVID-trained.”
With five-pages worth of health and safety guidelines recommended by the provincial government to mitigate the potential future spread of the virus, he said caution is the utmost priority.
“I know they’re all recommendations. But the worst possible (outcome) that could happen is if we prematurely opened and didn’t follow some of the recommendations, and God forbid if somebody got sick.”
Additionally, he said another pressing matter is that the board’s mandate has passed, so the society must also conduct its annual general meeting as soon as possible.
“We may have that before the Aquaplex even opens.”
So although the board does not intend to rush to reopen the Aquaplex, he said every effort will be made to welcome the public at the earliest opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to that day!”
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