The water may have been cool but Warfield residents got to take their first dip this summer into the Centennial Pool Monday.
Staff was prepping the outdoor pool for a free swim then, prior to launching the long-awaited opening with a pool party today.
“I’m really excited,” pool manager Christina Lupieri, 23, said Monday. “It’s awesome that it’s finally opening, we’ve been waiting for this for a really long time.”
The pool that was scheduled to open June 5 is making up for lost timeval with extending its hours into early fall, closing Sept. 14.
Work has been slow moving since late April, when village works crews began stripping off the old tiles in anticipation of a full resurfacing of the 46-year-old pool.
“People have actually been really patient and I’ve really been making a huge effort to educate them as much as possible,” said Lupieri. “We haven’t had too many people really mad, everyone is disappointed but I mean, we’re all disappointed that the pool hasn’t been open.”
Two lesson sets and a couple “fun days” were cancelled, along with community rentals, because of the prolonged construction.
Lupieri has had to rewrite the facility’s brochure about eight times, one of the many administrative tasks she’s acquired.
The manager became a community liaison over the course of the construction, giving out her cell phone as a contact for those looking for more information. She’s pleased that the anticipation is over and that she’ll finally be able to provide hours promised to her 11 employees.
The last two weeks, staff has picked up part-time work cleaning and painting the grounds but prior to that many had to look for more work or get by with less money in their pockets.
Senior life guard Britanny Mock, 19, thankfully was employed at the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre before this summer job popped up and was able to secure some hours there over the duration of renovations.
“We’re making sure the pool chemicals are balanced, that’s our main (goal), and we have our Dolphin (robotic cleaner) in getting the bottom of the pool clean and then we’re hosing and sweeping around the deck to make sure everything is clean and ready for our big opening,” she said, prior to opening.
Meanwhile, the pool’s staff room looked like a science lab as Lupieri balanced chemicals to ensure the water was healthy before opening the doors Monday afternoon when the water temperature was estimated to be about 23 C, down from its nearly 28 C that it normally sits at.
But after filling the pool with water on Saturday and Sunday, the facility was left with about 24 hours for the water temperture to fluctuate, when staff regularly waits three days.
“That’s why the free swim (Monday),” explained Lupieri, adding that today’s (regular rate) party will include games and free freezies.
The public has been kept up to date through the facility’s Facebook page and some residents may have caught a message that read “pool opens in one week” that was painted on the pool floor temporarily while staff completed a paint job.
The water was looking inviting Monday afternoon when residents passed by to confirm the pool’s hours.
“I think there is a lot of community support behind it, I find,” added Mock. “A lot of people are very keen on coming here and it’s a good atmosphere being outdoors.”
She’s happy to work on her tan at her first outdoor lifeguarding job, while her co-worker Chris Tremblay, 16, was keen to be on deck after just completing his lifeguard training.
Village councillor Jim Nelson, a former long-time mayor, was also pleased to see the construction finally complete. He made a point of stopping by Monday.
Warfield planned to resurface the outdoor pool, which was built in 1967, to celebrate Warfield’s Silver anniversary.
The process involved stripping off decades worth of layers of thick, pool paint to get at the bare concrete underneath, repairing and sealing the concrete surface and then applying the new layer of the familiar pool paint.
The pool is open from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekends. Hours will change to noon to 6 p.m. from Sept. 1-14.