There’s won’t be any splish-splash at the Warfield pool this summer. The pandemic has sunk the ship.
“Unfortunately, it’s just not feasible this year for our pool to open,” Mayor Diane Langman told the Times.
The new physical distancing and sanitation requirements to prevent coronavirus contagion has rendered this taxpayer-subsidized amenity a financial – and logistically – unsound investment this year.
In past seasons, the outdoor pool has generated revenue of around $48,000, annually. At first glance that number may appear significant, however, the real-time cost of running the family hot-spot exceeds $150,000.
Besides the ramped up disinfection requirements, the facility would be limited to allowing very few people in the pool at one time which would, of course, substantially decrease offset earnings.
On top of that, Langman says the village would have the added expenses of providing another elevated lifeguard chair as well as PPE for all staff at the pool, and additional training.
“To open the pool under these conditions, we estimate we would need to increase fees to an amount that would be beyond what a family could afford,” Langman pointed out.
“Or, our taxpayers in Warfield would need to carry that amount to make up for the excess deficit, by increasing taxes to make up the difference. The important thing to note is that every year, the pool is subsidized through taxation by our residents.”
No pool also means 12 to 15 students usually on deck for a good-paying seasonal job, will have to look elsewhere this summer.
“It was a very heavy decision that council needed to make and it breaks our hearts,” Langman said.
“However, we feel that with the pool closed this year, we can take the time to do some capital improvements to the pool, such as replacing the aging sand filters with new ones, and ensuring that next year we are well prepared to open the pool under what is considered to be our ‘new normal.’”
Though the pool lies dormant, the municipal office is now open for residents should they need to come in, Langman added.
“We have installed a Plexiglas shield at the front counter,” she said. “And we are also accepting property tax payments with a few different, contact-less ways for payment … rather than attending in person.”
Last month, Rossland announced the city’s outdoor pool would open by July 1.
The indoor pool in the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre will remain closed until further notice.