Bridgewater sinks outdoor pool for 2020

by Keith Corcoran

After Bridgewater civic politicians chose to shutter the Jubilee Road outdoor pool for the 2020 season, the town's mayor apologized for the move and hoped an alternative measure can be found for citizens to stay cool for the summer.

"I know there are a lot of people who rely on this pool," David Mitchell said during a recent council meeting live-streamed on the internet, "and we will endeavour to find an alternative for you to get away from the heat."

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 restrictions, when it comes to public health rules concerning gatherings, recreation facilities and physical distancing, left town officials with more questions than answers as to what to do about the season for the Subaru O'Regan's Outdoor Pool.

The facility ordinarily has an eight-week season, running between Canada Day to August 22.

"Closing the pool creates the greatest amount of savings," reads a portion of a staff report to council that refers to potential financial implications. "All other options for opening the pool, even in a limited capacity, relies heavily on the sponsorship agreement remaining in place and active for this season."

"Under business as usual conditions, the approximate net cost of operating the pool is $18,000."

Town council also agreed to extend the sponsorship deal to September 2021.

The current agreement for naming rights and sponsorship of the outdoor pool is entering the fifth year of a five-year deal.

"This agreement provides $20,000 of operational funding, equivalent to [half] of the the total revenue generated by the facility," reads the staff report, prepared by Community Development Director, Jessica McDonald, and Diana Johnson, the town's recreation coordinator.

Subsidies are provided by O'Regan's Subaru ($10,000); Lunenburg County United Way ($7,500); and Bridgewater Barracudas swim team ($2,500).

Deputy Mayor Andrew Tanner and Councillor Cheryl Fougere declared conflicts of interest and were not involved in the discussion nor vote concerning the matter. Tanner's reason was because of a connection to a major user of the pool, while Fougere said she's a member of the Barracuda's board of directors.

With no outdoor pool this season, council also passed a motion directing staff to explore options or alternatives for the community during heat waves.

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