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Ready to take the plunge? New Westminster’s new pools open May 14

Grand opening of New Westminster’s new leisure pool and 50-metre pool features a community photo op.

Community members are invited to take their first plunge into New Westminster’s new indoor swimming pool on Tuesday.

The City of New Westminster is opening the aquatic centre portion of təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre on Tuesday, May 14 at 4 p.m. While aquatics staff have been training in the pools, the First Swim event marks the first time the public will get a chance to swim in the pools.

To celebrate the opening, community members are invited to join in the first public jump, walk, slip, wheel, or lift into the pool. The city will be capturing this moment with a photo.

New West resident Betty Brussel, a senior competitive swimmer and 10-time world record holder, is the city’s special guest at the opening celebration at 65 East Sixth Ave. (Registration isn’t required, but space will be limited for the 4 p.m. shared moment of jumping into the new pools.)

At Tuesday’s opening celebration, community members will also be able to learn about the facility’s accessibility and environmental features.

The aquatic centre features an eight-lane, 50-metre lap pool with one-metre and three-metre springboards and a five-metre diving platform. It’s also home to a fully accessible leisure pool featuring spray elements and a lazy river, family and adult hot tubs, sauna, and steam room.

The new aquatic centre replaces the former Canada Games Pool, which closed in the fall of 2021, after a leak was discovered in the pool’s tank. Although the city had planned to decommission the facility in August 2023 as part of the təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre project, it decided in November 2021 that it would not invest time and money into repairs to Canada Games Pool because construction of a new facility was already underway.

The new facility has been designed to provide opportunities for recreational and competitive swimming.

“We have a lazy river in the leisure pool. There are some water spray features that come out of the pool deck. There are bubble features that come from the bottom of some of the kiddie, the family pools,” said Corrinne Garrett, the city’s senior manager of recreation services and facilities. “We have a family hot tub and an adult hot tub, so they'll be age appropriate. One will be a little bit cooler and more appropriate for younger ages.”

Garrett said the 50-metre pool includes the one- and three-metre springboards and a five-metre platform. It also has a movable floor.

“The shallow end has a hydraulic floor. It goes down flat to two metres, and can go up right up to deck level, which is so we can move it for things like swimming lessons, Aquasize,” she said. “We can get it depth-appropriate depending on the users.”

Dean Gibson, the city’s director of parks and recreation, said the two pools are separate structures – with different water and air temperatures on both sides. He noted the leisure pool, which includes three 25-metre lanes, will have warmer water than the 50-metre pool.

“In the 50-metre pool, the temperature will be appropriate for the more physical exertion,” he said, “and the air temperature will be scaled in relation to that.”

Garrett said the leisure pool has a “zero depth” entry so its accessible to families and folks using any sort of mobility device. The facility is also equipped with water-specific wheelchairs to help transfer people who use mobility aids into the pool, so they don't have to use their own device to get into the pool.

Tobi May, the city’s senior manager of civic building and properties, noted there is also roll-in access to the family hot tub.

One final piece

The pools will officially open on May 14, but the 50-metre pool will close for a couple of days at the beginning of June.

In April, May told council there’s been a supply-chain issue related to the delivery of two custom bulkheads, which allow for changing the length of the pool. Until they arrive and are installed, the 50-metre coemption pool will be divided by ropes.

“They're really critical to using the pool for what it's designed for. … So, unfortunately, there will be a temporary closure of only the competition pool for a couple of days shortly after the grand opening, but we expect to have that all finished and tied up,” she told council. “We didn't want to delay the grand opening for something that is isolated.”