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Port Coquitlam to extend outdoor pool season

Outdoor pools have become popular places to get fit, socialize and keep children active during COVID-19
Port Coquitlam Coun. Steve Darling relaxes poolside at Centennial Pool
Port Coquitlam Coun. Steve Darling relaxes poolside at Centennial Pool, where childrens' lessons, aquafit and lane swimming continue during the COVID-19 pandemic with physical distancing and other safety protocols in place.

Port Coquitlam outdoor pools have been a place to cool off, socialize and get fit as the COVID-19 pandemic limits indoor activities and other recreational opportunities.

And you can tell simply by visiting Centennial Pool on the city’s north side that people enjoy paddling around in the water.

“There’s a normalcy to getting into the pool,” said Coun. Steve Darling, who heads up the city’s parks and recreation committee.

Once you’re in the water, pandemic concerns fade away. It’s just you with the sun on your face and rippling water as you glide through the clear, chlorinated liquid.

On the day the Tri-City News visited Centennial, the pool was busy with staff adding lanes for lane-swimmers, children coming for pool camps, and everyone enjoying the water safely.

“When the pandemic shut everything down, we knew we had to come up with a plan to provide recreational opportunities,” Darling commented.

For weeks, city staff hunkered down in Zoom meetings to come up with a strategy. 

Opening outdoor pools with strict physical distancing guidelines has proved easier than indoor facilities, which will take a little longer, likely starting with ice arenas, according to the city.

Among the considerations, Darling said, is establishing safe in-out protools, cleaning touch points, and checking names of those who have signed up to ensure capacity does’t exceed 50.

“Are we are keeping people safe? We think we are,” said Darling, who said it’s a joy to see smiles on kids faces as they come into the pool.

His own children are signed up for a period of pool time as part of an outdoor birthday party.

It seems people have gotten used to signing up for programs for lane swimming and the pool is busiest on sunny days.

However, die-hard swimmers will be able to enjoy the water longer as the city is extending the outdoor season — to October — at Centennial and Robert Hope outdoor pools

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