Swimming

Council approves motion to consider a new aquatic centre

Swim Nova Scotia wants a new 50-metre pool

Centennial Pool is 50 metres but has only six lanes.   Peter Topshee

Halifax regional council moved forward with a motion for a staff report on the construction of a new 50-metre pool in the Halifax Regional Municipality on Tuesday.

Coun. Tony Mancini, who represents District 6 (Harvourview, Burnside, Dartmouth East), requested the staff report. He wants the report to be conducted in partnership with Swim Nova Scotia.

The motion carried 16-1. Deputy mayor Steve Craig rejected the motion, saying he thinks funds are better spent elsewhere, especially since the Canada Games Centre is relatively new.

However, the pool at the Canada Games Centre is 25 metres, making it ineligible for provincial swim meets. Provincial and Olympic swim meets are held in 50-metre pools with eight lanes and sufficient deck space. There are two 50-metre pools in Halifax; at Dalplex and the Centennial pool.

Dalplex’s pool has eight lanes and a scoreboard, but it’s been closed since December because of a leak. 

“The leak at Dalplex is an act of God situation,” said Coun. Waye Mason during the meeting. Mason was in favour of the motion and wants council to act quickly. “(The) Canada Games will be coming here sooner rather than later.”  

Dalplex says they are running some tests on the pool this week and will release an update on Friday. As for how successful the tests will be they said there are “no guarantees.”

However, Mason is still concerned.

“I have gotten a lot of emails from parents and I understand their panic,” he said during the meeting. He said the cost of putting a rental pool in the Scotiabank Centre would cost $3 million. Temporary pools are “not something that can be Fedexed tomorrow,” Mason said.

The Centennial Pool has only six lanes and it’s aging. 

In his motion, Mancini wrote, “HRM currently has an aquatic facility deficit that if not addressed, could seriously diminish the development and quality of aquatic sport and recreation in the region.”

Swim Nova Scotia has felt the repercussions. The organization’s executive director, Bette El-Hawary, said their members have been writing to their HRM councillors. 

In an interview, El-Hawary said the ideal location for the 50-metre pool would be at the Canada Games Centre in Clayton Park.

El-Hawary said Mancini encourages “active living and healthy lifestyle and felt that this was something that needs to be done.”

The staff report is expected be released next year.