It’s the last summer residents of Westlake-Gladstone can take a dip in the municipality’s swimming pool, but with the promise of a brand-new one next year, the community doesn’t mind bidding the over 50-year-old facility goodbye.
Coralie Smith, chief administrative officer of Westlake-Gladstone, said the pool, in its current state, is beyond its useful life.
“The current pool is open, and it will be open until the end of the season … we were able to get it barely open.”
Knowing the state of the old pool, council has been very busy applying for grants and asking for donations. Smith said the endeavour was met with so much success that construction will begin on the new pool and facilities after the August long weekend.
Funding for the project is made up of a $300,000 grant from Manitoba’s Building Sustainable Communities program and a $425,000 grant from Prairies Economic Development Canada. At a budgeted cost of $1.25 million, Smith said generous donations have been made from Topigs Norsvin Canada Inc., a company building hog barns in the area, philanthropic organization the Richardson Foundation, the Gladstone Royal Canadian Legion, the Gladstone Elks Lodge and Elks of Canada.
“We’ve received lots of other smaller donations, too,” Smith said.
“We have a little bit of money in our pool reserve account, and then for the rest, we’re going to be relying on donations.”
Once the work is complete, the site of the old pool will become the new facility’s parking lot. There will also be a brand-new pool house and a whole new pool structure, Smith said.
“With enough funding, the plan is to have the waterslide there.”
There are also plans to incorporate a lazy river into the new pool.
The driving force behind council working to get funding for the new project, Smith said, was how important it is for the children of Westlake-Gladstone to learn how to swim.
“It’s really important that kids learn to swim. That’s our biggest priority.”
Veronica Casigay, a swimming lessons instructor at the current pool, said a lot of parents have signed up their children for swimming lessons this year.
“Our pool is pretty small, but I feel once we’ve got the newer and bigger pool, our attendance will be a bit higher.”
She added the pool is an important place for people from the community to socialize.
“I believe outdoor pools are a way for the community to connect with each other more. You can see how other people are having fun and enjoying themselves … it’s a morale booster.”
Construction on the pool house will be completed this fall, and the new pool will open in June.
Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun