By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
Stirling village council has sent a letter to the premier and other parties to seek clarity regarding pool openings.
During their regular Feb. 17 meeting, Stirling village council discussed the possibility of opening the community pool for summer 2021.The pool was closed during the 2020 swimming season due to public health measures instituted during the pandemic.
In 2020, the provincial government had initially declared pools would open in Phase 3 of the thenrelaunch strategy. However, in early June 2020, the province announced the launch of Phase 2 early, and with it they included some things that were originally slated to open in Phase 3, such as pools, albeit under strict health restrictions. While some communities decided to open their pools in response to the new easement in restrictions, others did not.
This year, the province’s relaunch is being done in four steps. At the time of the meeting, the province was still in Step 1 of the relaunch, which saw some restrictions on restaurants, indoor fitness and children’s sport and performance activities eased on Feb. 8. Steps 3 and 4 would see potential easement in more areas, but council and village administration still had questions around when the pool could possibly be allowed to re-open.
“Given our narrow window for being able to provide this service to the community and surrounding area, we require as much information as we can in order to properly plan what we are able to do in relation to the opening of the pool,” said Scott Donselaar, CAO for the village.
Donselaar said the pool would be able to re-open in Step 4 of the relaunch, but said there was a lack of communication from the province in regards to it, and they have questions around what would need to be done and what restrictions would be implemented in order for the village to do so safely.
“These are the questions the Government of Alberta has failed to answer for us and was one of the precipitating factors for us to raise the conversation with council.”
As of March 1, the province is in Step 2 of the relaunch. According to the province’s website regarding stronger public health measures, all entertainment businesses and entities must close, including amusement and water parks, although spas, pools, indoor rinks and arenas may be open only for the purposes of one-toone fitness training and youth group physical activities.
Council passed a motion to send a letter to the premier, the AHS South Zone liaison, the MLA and the AUMA to request the provincial government to provide more information to municipalities, in order for them to plan and make arrangements for their municipal facilities.