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Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre pool guidelines create confusion for users

“We understand people want to get back in the pool and this is a way to get them back and get their kids active as well. As soon as we can open up high-intensity swimming without a mask, we will. People are waiting for it and we want to give it to them, but we want to also ensure we are doing our part to keep cases down and follow the rules."
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The Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre Aquatic Centre. Photo by Roy Ooms

COCHRANE— Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre opened up the Jayman BUILT Aquatic Centre on Monday (March 22) with new public health guidelines, set by Alberta Health Services recommendations.

The guidelines indicate that masks must be used while in the pool during low-intensity exercises, which includes activities like warm-water therapy, and some of the programs at the centre like AquaFit, Noodle-itis, Warm Water Stretching and Healing Movement classes.

The lap-pool is available for booking, but only for activities considered “low-intensity,” like treading water, kicking with a flutter board or water walking.

Individual high-intensity workouts are still not allowed under current provincial guidelines.

There was some confusion around the new guidelines, specifically around wearing a mask for aquatic activities, which drew a number of questions from the community.

Michelle Everett, sales and marketing manager of the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre said many of the questions she fielded regarding the new guidelines suggested the rules in place were coming from the staff of the Centre directly, which is not the case.

Rather, the guidelines are put in place by Alberta Health Services, and the staff of the Centre simply abide by the provincial recommendations.

“We’re basically doing our best to get people back in here and at least, some people just want to be back in the water, even if they can’t swim,” she said. “We’re trying to make every opportunity available that we can, but it’s not our rules, we’re just following the [provincial] rules.”

Brooke Sabourin, programs manager at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre said she has been in regular contact with the Cochrane area representative from Alberta Health Services, who has given their approval of the measures in place at the Aquatic Centre.

“We have a direct contact with our Alberta Health inspector for the Cochrane area who relays a lot of the information to us and can answer a lot of our specific questions,” Sabourin said. “Myself and our pool manager meet for our community town hall, where we meet with representatives from AHS and the Alberta Government who are actually making the guidelines, and that’s where we get to ask more specific questions and clarify how it works in a pool scenario versus a fitness centre scenario.”

Everett said she is happy to see the facilities reopen and is excited to continue in that direction, as long as they can do so safely, within the guidelines set out by the province.

“We understand people want to get back in the pool and this is a way to get them back and get their kids active as well. As soon as we can open up high-intensity swimming without a mask, we will. People are waiting for it and we want to give it to them, but we want to also ensure we are doing our part to keep cases down and follow the rules,” Everett said.

To keep up to date with all of the changes happening at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, visit them online at slsfamilysportscentre.com/.