Users of the Annaleise Carr Aquatic Centre are discouraged by the timeline for the pool to reopen, which is closed until at least October.
The Norfolk Hammerheads have started a petition to have the pool opened sooner and other groups are supporting the initiative.
“We absolutely support it,” Shirley Shaw, head coach of the Simcoe Seals, said. “How do you train athletes in this town? It’s very, very frustrating.”
Shaw mentioned that 12 of her athletes had qualified for provincial games prior to the COVID-19 closures. The Hammerheads have an athlete that has qualified for Olympic trials that is currently unable to train in the community.
“Even though it’s all postponed, it will eventually take place after this is all over,” said Shaw. “It would be nice to keep my guys training, it’s very frustrating.”
Matt Terry, director of corporate communications for Norfolk County, said in an email that the county announced its plan for recreational services, which included the pool undergoing repairs this summer.
“In that update, we indicated that we’d continue to engage user groups and report back to council in mid-August with an update on the potential opening date,” said Terry. “That remains the plan.”
Both Shaw and Heather Anderson, president of the Hammerheads, say they were informed that the pool would be closed, but the October date came as a surprise.
“I didn’t see a need to push to open the pool before September, I didn’t need to advocate for something that I thought was going to happen,” said Anderson. She said in an email she received regarding the closure of the Delhi Kinsmen Pool, it was also mentioned that the ACAC was remaining closed until Sept. 8.
Staffing is also being attributed as part of the closure issue by the county.
“In addition to finishing the repairs at the pool, we also have a number of staff on declared emergency leave, and others who have been re-deployed to other county operations, who would need to be recalled in order to begin the process of opening the pool,” said Terry.
Anderson said she has attempted to contact the aquatic director but that person is one of the employees re-deployed to another position.
“There’s no real person for us user groups to get in contact with because she’s working at another facility in another position,” said Anderson.
The petition for the county to open the pool before August can be found on the Norfolk Hammerheads Facebook page.
“I know my athletes are anxious to get back, and I know COVID is a big part of it, and we want them safe,” said Shaw. “If they can get it opened up it would be awesome, and we would be very careful to follow the rules. I don’t want anybody getting sick or anything.”
Public pools in neighbouring municipalities have already re-opened.