Open pool temporarily, says recreation co-ordinator

  • Nov. 11, 2009 2:00 p.m.

QCI recreation coordinator Julia Brobbel wants to talk to the Greater Massett Development Corporation, the organization that owns the shut-down Massett rec centre, about re-opening the pool for a month or two. The GMDC closed the rec centre and pool more than a year ago, but Ms Brobbel said it might be possible to open the pool temporarily for school swimming lessons. Ms Brobbel said she has spoken to a few parent groups about the possibility and all are enthusiastic. Before the pool – the only public one on the islands – was closed, it was used every year for swimming lessons for elementary students from Sandspit to Masset. Ms Brobbel said QCI Rec could re-certify life guards and swimming instructors and organize the school lessons, while the school groups will pay most of the costs. The proposal shouldn’t cost GMDC any extra money, she said. “If the pool is where we left it, it should be good to run for a couple of months a year,” she said. She’s not sure exactly how much it would cost to re-open the pool, but this is one of the things she wants to talk to the GMDC’s board about. To keep heating costs as low as possible, the swimming lessons would be held in May-June or September-October, she said, not during the winter. Meanwhile, Ms Brobbel said she distributed a survey at a health fair in Masset last month and about half of those responding said that the lack of recreation facilities on the islands is a barrier to getting enough exercise. Just how much many islanders miss the pool is evident at the “Gamestown 2010” website, where BC communities are competing for a $100,000 grant for a local sports facility. Residents of Masset, Old Massett and other communities have posted comments like “We need a rec centre!” “We need our pool back” and “All everyone does around here now is walk around bored all day”. Parent Karen Church said she has been urging everyone to post a story and vote for Masset. The site allows people to vote as many times as they want until early January. Eventually, three communities in BC will be picked to win prizes of $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000. Ms Church said even the $100,000 gold prize would be only a drop towards the estimated $10-million cost of building a new recreation centre, but she believes the site will also serve the important purpose of raising awareness provincially of how much the islands needs this facility. “We were really engaged with our rec centre up here, as a pool and a social spot,” she said. “It was real central to a lot of people’s lives… It is really needed in Masset.” (You can vote for Masset or post a story by going to The Greater Massett Development Corporation board, made up of directors from the villages of Masset and Old Massett, said it had no choice but to close the rec centre in the summer of 2008 because it had run out of money to operate the facility. The rec centre is more than 30 years old and had an inefficient heating system, among other problems.