With fall’s arrival, many people who had opted for outdoor fitness and recreation opportunities during summer are returning to the familiar offerings at Saanich’s two pools.
And while your visit to Saanich Commonwealth Place and Gordon Head pools will be a little different from what you were used to pre-COVID, staff are thrilled to welcome swimmers back for a safe, inviting experience, says Heather Belecky, Aquatic Programmer at Gordon Head Recreation Centre, whose pool was one of the first to re-open in the region.
“We’ve heard from many people how crucial the pool is for their fitness, rehabilitation and recreation, but also for their mental health,” Heather notes. “We heard how isolated people felt and the water is just so amazing for them.”
The gradual re-opening has allowed staff to further tweak protocols to fully support provincial health guidelines, offering an experience that’s both enjoyable and safe, Heather notes.
A recent customer survey provided valuable insights that further helped Gordon Head adjust the swimmer experience. In response to concerns that the pool’s cubby storage area was too congested during swim lessons, for example, the centre moved to individual laundry basket storage for swimmers’ belongings, Heather explains.
“The survey responses were overwhelmingly positive, and with people’s suggestions, we were able to tweak our practices to improve the experience a little more,” Heather says.
“I’ve just been so impressed with how adaptable everyone has been. Everyone was so keen to get back safely – they missed seeing each other and our patrons.”
Here’s a look at what your visit to your Saanich pool will look like:
- A significant change for swimmers is in the reserved drop-in procedures for pools as well as the weight rooms and other drop-in activities. In the case of the pool, all family members in the pool must reserve a spot, whether it’s for lane swimming or a family swim. Ideally, you’re asked to reserve online, but staff can process phone reservations, too.
- Arrive no more than 15 minutes ahead of swim time. After a few screening questions, staff will direct you to the change room, with limited numbers permitted at one time.
- Lockers are not available at this time, so after a cleansing shower, take your belongings to the pool deck and store them in cubbies while you’re in the pool.
- While swimming, watch for clear signage indicating the numbers permitted in specific pools.
- Depending on the kind of swim session, equipment will be placed around the pool edge for easy access (rather than being stored in one big tub), and will be fully sanitized between uses.
- The pool and recreation centre is also thoroughly cleaned every four hours.
“It’s just been amazing to see how grateful the community has been to be back, especially when the pool reopened in July, and how open everyone is to these necessary steps we need to take for now,” Heather says.
To learn more, visit saanich.ca/recreation.