The pool at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre has been at its highest capacity in September as the pools at Esquimalt, Saanich Commonwealth, and Crystal Pool are closed for maintenance. (File photo/Oak Bay Parks and Rec)

The pool at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre has been at its highest capacity in September as the pools at Esquimalt, Saanich Commonwealth, and Crystal Pool are closed for maintenance. (File photo/Oak Bay Parks and Rec)

Swimmers flock to Oak Bay as other pools close for maintenance

Crystal, Commonwealth and Esquimalt undergo annual closure

Patrons using the Oak Bay swimming pool have found it is particularly busy so far in September.

It’s the same as last year.

That’s because three of the nearest pools, Saanich Commonwealth Place, Esquimalt Recreation Centre and Crystal Pool are all closed for their annual, regular maintenance. Commonwealth and Esquimalt are closed from Sept. 2 to 15, reopening Sept. 16, and Crystal Pool is closed from Aug. 30 until Sept. 29, reopening Sept. 30. Oak Bay shut its pool down for annual maintenance for three weeks from June 3 to 23.

Some passes from other recreation pools are good at Oak Bay while their pools are closed for maintenance, such as Esquimalt.

READ MORE: Oak Bay pool reopens with free swimming after surprise closure to fix leak

All in all, it’s meant above-average numbers showing up to Oak Bay so far in September, including length swimmers in search of space in the lap lanes. The spike in users has become an annual occurrence in Oak Bay, with users talking about it on social media including swimmers who may have been unable to access the pool.

Steve Meikle, Oak Bay’s manager of recreation and cultural services, said that with a pool capacity of about 450 people, no one was formally turned away because the pool reached capacity.

“Most people aren’t comfortable with that many people in the pool,” Meikle said.

Users are offered the chance to look at the pool during those peak times and see if they’re comfortable.

“However, with the closures of the other facilities in the region, there are times when the pool is exceptionally busy. People have been making their own choices not to swim due to the volume of people already in the pool.”

Meikle also noted that some people may have been turned away because they showed up for a swim time that they didn’t qualify for.

READ ALSO: Nellie Stock – 40 years of teaching swimming and winning hearts

On Sunday, for example, families can’t use the Oak Bay pool during its reserved times for swim lessons from 9 to 11:30 a.m. (unless they were registered) and for adult lengths swim from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

During swim lessons there are a couple of lap lanes reserved for parents and adults may use these, though it’s not recommended for faster swimmers.

Also, new this month is the Tuesday and Thursday night swimming lessons from 5 to 6:30 p.m., replacing the adult lengths swim from the same time. The adult length swim remains the same, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., the other five nights of the week.

The change was made to accommodate a large waitlist for swim lessons and for parents looking to swim after work when their children are there for lessons. Adults from the public can still use the lanes reserved for laps, but keep in mind it’s busy.

“If you’re a fast swimmer, it’s difficult to do that at that time,” Meikle added.

Designated times for open swims are on Sundays, with a family swim from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by a kids’ fun swim from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. After the adult lengths swim from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the pool opens for an everyone welcome swim until 9:30 p.m.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

The Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre will once again be transformed into temporary sheltering for 45 individuals starting in March. (Courtesy of the B.C. Government)
Temporary shelter to resume at Victoria Save-On-Foods arena in March

BC Housing signed lease with GSL Group from Feb. 1 to May 30

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kairry Nguyen on Jan. 27, 2020 after Tenessa Nikirk was found guilty for striking Bui in a Saanich crosswalk. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Driver convicted of dangerous driving after hitting Leila Bui out on bail

Tennesa Nikirk was convicted for striking then 11-year-old Leila Bui with her car

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed as Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Victoria police are seeking a young woman suspected of spitting on a bus driver in October 2020. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VIDEO: Young woman sought after ‘spitting assault’ on Victoria bus driver

Suspect became irate after bus came to a sudden stop

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read