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New Eastlink Centre Pool schedule brings up patron concerns

A new pool schedule has been released for the Eastlink Centre starting May 8th and many people took to social media to voice their displeasure. A schedule posted to their website has “spontaneous swim” times slotted for every evening, a couple afternoons during the week and afternoons into the evenings on the weekends. These are times where the entire pool is available to the public.

The lazy river and splash pad are opened alternating days during the week at varying times in the morning. The biggest problem being noticed is based on the 7:00 pm public swim on weekdays. People with young children are concerned they won’t be able to use the pool.

Grande Prairie mother Brittany Schafer is one of those that are unhappy with the schedule. She likes to take her 1 and half year old to the facility but with her bedtime around 7:00 pm, weekday swim times are out of the picture for her.

“I understand that they are short staffed and I get that they are trying to make it as safe as possible for everyone. My big problem is the weekend is already the busiest time. Who wants to go when there is hardly room to swim? We went swimming a couple weekends ago and we didn’t enjoy it.”

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She is hoping the schedule can be tweaked to allow afternoon swims a few times during the week for people with kids.

City Community Living Director Garry Roth explains that they know that customer expectations have not been being met because of staff shortages in the last few months.

“Anyone using aquatics knows that there has been delays or they haven’t been able to use a pool because amenities have been shut down.”

He says they have a strategic plan to make it easier for people to decide when they will go down to the pool. After the two week shut down for maintenance from April 21st to May 7th, they will launch the new schedule. Roth insures that these swim times are not set in stone.

“This is a trial that will be evaluated on an on-going basis. A more formal evaluation will happen early June. Summer season happens at that time. Even if we decided to continue with this format, the schedule would switch to summer hours.”

He says this will help with consistency and help them be more predictable. Staffing is also said to be easier with a more rigid times set out for activities. He adds that adjustments will be made over time as people give feedback to the city.

They have also launched a Membership Loyalty Campaign. Roth says it is a thank you for sticking with the facility for the last few months while they work things out.

“You can make a selection from one of three options. One is a three month free loyalty membership which would work like an extension on a membership. There is also gift cards from various businesses around the community. The third option is that if someone is really unhappy and doesn’t want to continue with their membership, we will allow them to cancel without any penalty.”

There has also been new payment levels for membership introduced that will kick off after the pool opens on May 8th.

Roth encourages anyone with feedback to email [email protected] or call into the facility at 780-830-5000.

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