It has taken months longer than expected, but the pool at the Town and Country Aquatics Plus (TCAP) facility in Montague, P.E.I. is finally open, thanks to some successful fundraising and a huge community effort.
TCAP says the number of members has jumped by almost 100 this week since the pool opened last Saturday, drawing close to the board's initial target of 700 members.
But getting here has been stressful, admits facility manager William Calhoun.
"The process was longer than we expected, we had some setbacks along the way," he said.
In October 2016, the board of TCAP took over the centre which had been under lease to a private business for the last 12 years, and kicked off a $300,000 fundraising campaign.
Some of the renovations were planned for, but others were unexpected. TCAP had to replace a heat pump, an extra $20,000 expense, and then one of the furnaces didn't work.
"When we put things back on stream, they broke down," said said Alan MacKinnon, treasurer for the TCAP board
"The initial thought of the board was disappointment and that the condition of the building was far worse than we had realized and that made our fundraising efforts having to be that much greater in order to get there."
Delays to the pool
During the renovations, a light fell on the pool deck and shattered, forcing the board to replace all of the lights, resulting in another one month delay and more unexpected costs.
The facility's signature water slide also became an issue for the board.
"Initially we attempted to repair the water slide but the infrastructure holding it up, essentially the slide could fall down," said MacKinnon.
"Instead of it being $5,000, it was going to be $25,000 so we took the slide out and thus far no one seems to miss it."
Programs to start soon
Once the extensive renovations to the pool area were complete, the next big task was filling the pool, which took five days.
The pool opened over the weekend and more than 120 people came by for a swim.
"The response thus far has been 100 per cent positive, certainly people want more, they want classes, and lessons and all of those type of things to start up," said Calhoun.
Some programming will start soon, but other programs will begin in the fall.
"We'll be looking to bring back both the synchronized swimming team and the swimming team to the centre, both have been non-existent for quite a long time," said Calhoun.
The fitness part of the facility opened in the middle of October, after a community effort called Scrub the Tub.
Monks from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society and nuns from the Great Wisdom Buddhist Institute contributed more than a thousand hours of volunteer time.
There was also financial support from all three levels of government.
"We wouldn't have been to complete the repairs we've done without that funding, we just wouldn't have had the money," said MacKinnon.
Now the TCAP board will focus on the future.
"Keeping it going and completing things, we still have issues with the roof and so on," said MacKinnon.
"But just to fine-tune it and make it a whole lot better."
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