The future of competitive swimming in Fredericton is uncertain as the lone competition pool in the capital city of New Brunswick is scheduled to close in 2018.
According to a report in the brunswickan, the University of New Brunswick (UNB) student newspaper, the Sir Max Aitken Pool, located within the Lady Beaverbrook Gym at UNB, is set to decommissioned in the fall next year. The pool, which is used by the UNB swim team, along with the city’s other competitive aquatic teams, sees more than 200,000 visitors per year.
Swimming aficionados will still have other options, such as the Fredericton Indoor Pool and the YMCA Pool; however, the former is too shallow and the latter only has four lanes, making them unsuitable for competition purposes. FINA rules require pools to have eight lanes, while 10 lanes are mandatory for Olympic Games.
The report also mentions the 2015 building assessment on the Lady Beaverbrook Gym, which categorizes multiple requirements, e.g. roofing, windows, insulation, etc., as ‘beyond useful life.’ Other requirements are listed as ‘currently critical’ or ‘necessary.’
“The change rooms are outdated, many things are broken, and there are a lot of hazards on deck, said one of the facility’s synchronized swimming coaches, Gabrielle Pearson, in the report. “I know the lifeguards do a good job to make sure they pick up [the tiles], but a lot of tiles are broken.”
While talks between UNB and the city are ongoing with respect to including an aquatic facility in the university’s plans to build a state-of-the-art athletics and recreation centre, the swimming community also made a stance by collecting more than 7000 signatures petitioning the construction of a new aquatic facility.
According to the report, the petition has been delivered to provincial, federal, UNB and city staff officials, to demonstrate the community’s support for a new pool and that a project of this nature is important and deserves funding.