The City of Surrey says a staffing shortage is hampering reopening of the South Surrey Indoor Pool. ( photo)

The City of Surrey says a staffing shortage is hampering reopening of the South Surrey Indoor Pool. ( photo)

Staffing shortage cited in continued closure of South Surrey Indoor Pool

Senior anxious for reopening of ‘smaller, closer-to-home’ facility

City of Surrey officials still have no definitive timeline for reopening of the South Surrey Indoor Pool, and cite a staffing shortage when asked for specifics behind the ongoing closure.

“We currently are experiencing staffing shortage at the facilities and this is reflected in our pool schedule,” the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, Laurie Cavan, said Thursday (Oct. 28) in a emailed statement. “Having enough trained staff at the pool is necessary to keeping everyone safe.”

The city announced in fall of last year that it would begin a “phased” approach to reopening its facilities during the pandemic. The first to reopen was Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex in Fleetwood. South Surrey’s Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre, at 16855 24 Ave., reopened in February.

In July, in response to Peace Arch News‘ inquiries, parks officials said they were reviewing the opening of the remainder of the city’s indoor pools and would have a timeline “in the coming weeks.” Swimming at Newton Recreation Centre has also not yet resumed.

READ MORE: Timeline for reopening of South Surrey Indoor Pool expected ‘in coming weeks’

South Surrey senior Glenys Mior contacted Peace Arch News on Oct. 27 regarding the continued closure of the 14655 17 Ave. site.

Mior said prior to the pandemic, she and her husband would visit the facility “a couple days a week” for exercise that, for Mior, helped with joint pain.

“With severe arthritis, swimming is what’s prescribed,” she said. “I would get in there and do 20, 30, 40 lengths.”

She estimates, having not been in the pool since COVID-19 started, she might now be able to manage just 10 lengths.

While city officials encourage residents to visit the Grandview, Guildford or Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex for swimming – each has an eight- or 10-lane, 50-metre main pool, leisure pool and diving boards, Cavan noted – Mior said none of those are suited for her. In addition to being “too big… overwhelming,” it means she has to drive along the oft-congested 24 Avenue, which is “against everything they’re saying with regards to reducing our carbon footprint.”

“Whatever we can do, we do by walking,” Mior continued.

“I really like (the South Surrey Indoor Pool) for the smallness of it – just the ease, close to home, the whole ambience there. It’s so different than at Grandview Heights.”

Mior wondered if a shipping container located on-site was related to the closure, however, while information on the city’s website notes staff “are working hard to reduce maintenance closures” and, that work has included “draining of all pools with a full-facility maintenance service on all pumps, filters and equipment, as well as replacement of pool deck gutters,” Cavan said there are no capital projects currently underway at the facility.

Shipping containers on-site are being used by the swim user groups, she said.

“We continue to increase the services at the three open pools as much as we can successfully and safely offer. Our priority is to recruit and train additional staff which we are actively doing.”
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