Sweaty, rusted pool lockers replaced after single dad's complaint makes headlines

Corroded lockers and a gritty floor smeared with salt and muck greeted Greg Tobin every time he brought his eight-year-old daughter to the Aquarena pool in St. John's.

Last Tuesday, after their weekly swim, he'd had enough, and took to Facebook to complain about the state of the only locker room Tobin says he could use in the facility, as a single dad with a young daughter.

"I have to comment on this sorry for complaining ... actually no I'm not!" he wrote.

The complaint not only led to media attention, landing him an article in The Telegram, but to prompt action from Aquarena management, who replaced the lockers Wednesday night.

Craig Neil, manager of The Works recreational facility, which houses the pool, said that changing room in particular was prone to high humidity, causing anything steel to rapidly degrade.

For now, replacement steel lockers have been moved from another changing room, and eventually they'll install a plastic set, he said.

"Cleanliness is very, very important to us," he said, encouraging anyone with an issue to talk to the customer service desk.

"When I looked at the lockers yesterday, obviously they shouldn't have been to the point that they were," he said. "So we said, let's get them replaced."

'Let's go somewhere else'

Tobin said that particular changing room, which is designated for people with special needs but is often used by families, had been in a similar state for the three years he's been going there.


With a young daughter in tow, he wasn't able to use either the men's or women's facilities, he said.

By Tuesday, Tobin said, the lockers had deteriorated to a point where even his daughter didn't want to use them. The lack of mirrors or showers only compounded their feelings that the room was less than hygienic.

"I said, 'This is disgusting. Let's go somewhere else,'" he recalled.  "If I had light-coloured clothing, I certainly wouldn't want to put it in a locker and have rust come off on it." 

Tobin said he's relieved his complaint led to action, but couldn't understand why families or disabled patrons weren't offered a cleaner option until this week.

"I like the facility. I like going to that pool ... I can do some lap swimming while my kids play. But I did not like going into that change room," he said.

"I am happy they were so reactive."

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