Moncton's newest outdoor pool will open to the public Saturday, but a few summer camp goers were among the first to test the water Friday morning.
"I think it's great because it's a really hot day and it just cools me off and it's fun," Calleb Landry said along the edge of the Centennial Park pool, which city staff say was hovering at 22 C.
While Environment Canada reported the air temperature as 25 C by 11 a.m., it felt warmer as heat radiated off the grey concrete around the pool.
"Today I was melting hot," Lillian Goodin said, calling the pool great.
This will be the first summer Moncton has had two outdoor pools open at the same time in seven years. The city's new east end pool opened last year. The city expects it will open sometime next week.
Jocelyn Cohoon, Moncton's director of leisure services, outlined the Centennial Park pool's features during a media tour Friday morning.
"We're certainly happy to be able to have this facility open and ready for the public to use," Cohoon said.
As she spoke, children attending Camp Centennial were the first users while lifeguards finished their training. About 25 staff will work at the new pool.
The $5.95 million facility replaces Centennial Beach, which closed in 2017 after operating for 33 years. The new pool is closer to one of Centennial Park's entrances, higher on a hill than the old pool, which was in a flood zone.
Construction of the pool, holding 1.4 million litres of water, began in 2018. Issues around soil stability, water hookups and other construction issues delayed its completion to September last year, too late for it to open for the summer.
Its opening was pushed back this year by the pandemic, which has led to a series of additional protective steps for staff and pool users.
The pool can accommodate up to 650 bathers, but the city is limiting entry to 200 people this summer.
As well, lifeguards will be sanitizing high-touch surfaces about once an hour.
"We feel we have more than enough space to properly physically distance our patrons," Cohoon said.
The city contracts operation of the pool to the Codiac Vikings Aquatic Club.
Jocelyn Keech, president of the club, says the pandemic has changed the way they will run the pool in order to keep everyone safe.
"I think it's going to be a great summer, it's looking nice and hot," Keech said.
The pool includes two 50-metre swimming lanes and a walk-in area that goes from zero metres down to 1.5 metres deep.
A building near the pool includes 14 universal, accessible washrooms that also serve as change rooms. Power for the building is generated by solar panels.
The pool will be open 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily.
Entry is free for children three and under, $3 for 12 years and under, $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and $13 for families of up to five.
Adult and senior swimming, held Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. costs $3 per person.
The city accepts debit and credit payments.