The forecast couldn't be better for opening weekend at the Winkler Aquatic Centre, with lots of sunshine and above average temperatures expected. Today (Friday, May 26th) is opening day.
"We're opening the pool this weekend, open Friday, Saturday and Sunday," shared Mayor Henry Siemens. "We have opportunities for people to get in there Friday 4pm to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm to 5pm and 6pm to 9pm. We're really, really hoping the weather will cooperate for that. To have the pool opening up is always exciting."
Siemens noted they did struggle, somewhat, with finding and hiring enough lifeguards to start the season.
"Talking to our staff, we're told this is fairly normal in most facilities, particularly during the month of June while many kids are still in school, to find enough lifeguards to open," he explained. "We did find enough, and we're going to be opening up. If we all of a sudden we end up with people not feeling well, we might run into a situation where we might have to close early, at times, but I know our staff are working feverishly to make sure once we have the chance to open this pool, we can keep it open."
Opening weekend will also give pool goers the first opportunity to try the new speed slides installed at the facility. Several years after the pool's two previous speed slides were decommissioned, because they no longer met code, their replacements were installed earlier this month and are ready for the new season.
The new slides, which come in sections, differ slightly from the old ones which were made from one large mold.
"The benefit of sections is then, if there is any wear-and-tear on any one piece, they can simply be replaced," explained Director of Community Services Jordan Driedger in a previous story with PembinaValleyOnline.
Regardless of this small difference, Driedger fully expects swimmers to enjoy a very similar experience to the old slides.
Meantime, swimmers will also be a bit more comfortable as they wade into the pool this summer. A new, more efficient heating system has been installed as well.
"What's exciting about these heaters is they're much more efficient than the old ones, so we're hoping to have a better capacity to heat up the pool quicker. Hopefully, with those cool mornings, that the water will warm up a little bit faster," said Driedger.
Also opening today is the North Point Splash Park, located at the corner of North Point Trail and Platinum Drive.