New Westminster’s two outdoor pools will adopt a “hybrid” approach for the 2023 season.
The parks and recreation department recently updated city council about the findings from the 2022 outdoor pool season at Moody and Hume Park pools and plans for this year. The city extended the season at Moody Park Outdoor Pool (opening earlier in the spring and staying open until the fall) and Hume Park Outdoor Pool (remaining open into to the fall), in response to the loss of aquatic services with the closure and deconstruction of Canada Games Pool.
“Based on the feedback and the range of preferences we heard from participants related to reserved versus drop-in access to the outdoor pools, the city is responding by introducing a hybrid approach for the upcoming 2023 outdoor pool season,” said a report to council. “This will include a reserved system for those who want a guaranteed swimming spot, while also retaining 20 per cent of swim spaces for drop-in visitors in order to reduce barriers to access.”
The report showed that registered programs at Moody Park Outdoor Pool were near capacity during the spring, summer and fall of 2022 – but there were a lot of openings for leisure, lane and aquafit sessions.
Corrinne Garrett, the city’s senior manager of recreation services and facilities, said the city’s aquatic services team has used public engagement findings to drive plans for the 2023 outdoor pool season. She said statistics from the 2022 season, together with public feedback, will result in some changes to this year’s operations.
“The community was divided in their opinions regarding the reserved system. In 2023, a hybrid approach to registration will allow those who prefer to register in advance the ability to do so while also dedicating 20 per cent of swim session capacity to those who want to drop-in and pay with cash or card,” she said. “Staff will monitor if swimmers leave or don’t attend, and in this case new swimmers may drop in for the remaining portion of the swim.”
Other changes include: Public swim session times increased from one hour to 1.5 hours; lane swimming capacity increased from 3 to 5 per lane; spectators welcome on the pool deck; an increase in aquafit classes; and a pre-requisite system for swimming lessons to allow equal opportunity for available lesson spaces each lesson set.
“The aquatic services team is prepping the pools and looking forward to welcoming our residents back on April 22 at Moody Park Outdoor Pool and May 20 at Hume Park Outdoor Pool,” Garrett said.
Here’s what’s happening at the outdoor pools in the coming months:
Moody Park pool will be open from April 22 to Oct. 1, while Hume Park pool will open from May 30 to Oct. 1 (it opened from June 30 to Oct. 10 in 2022).
A staff reports noted that Hume Park Pool has minimal lighting within the park and pool deck areas. As the sun sets earlier with each passing day in the fall, staff found that the pool lighting became insufficient for safe operations (in terms of visibility requirements).
“In addition, the current boiler system is an older model and has challenges in maintaining adequate pool water temperatures in the cooler months,” said the report. “Also, during the shoulder season, attendance levels for Hume Park Pool drastically dropped in the month of October.”
For more information about this year’s outdoor pool offerings visit www.newwestcity.ca/outdoor-pools.
New Westminster city council also recently received status update about the təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre project. That facility is expected to open in February 2024.
Will outdoor pools return to their regular summer openings (from the end of the school year until Labour Day) once the new indoor pool opens?
“The initial intent of the extended outdoor pool seasons was to gap the bridge time for residents between the closure of the Canada Games Pool and the opening of təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre,” Garrett said. “While we have seen an interest in the shoulder seasons, we will need to engage with our residents, analyze available staffing resources and 2023 seasonal statistics prior to making decisions for the 2024 outdoor pool operational season.”