To the Editor,
The Society for Wellness, Mobility, and Instruction through Swimming (SWIMS) was recently granted funding through 100 Who Care to extend the pool season. SWIMS plans to match this funding and also welcomes any additional community funding as we present this to council for their planning and consideration in the 2019 budget.
It’s such a positive vibe for our community that the District has recently implemented much appreciated work at the REC Centre. This includes new painting, roofing, flooring substructure repairs, pool shower rooms, exterior doors, and secure access for the weight room. Only a few years past, amid talk of closing the REC Centre, the community came together to voice how important this facility was in their lives, an advisory committee was formed, and things proceeded in a positive manner.
The recent Active Community Master Plan showed 58 per cent of residents surveyed said their most common use at the REC Centre was the pool. Even non-swimmers acknowledge it’s a great "sell" for Lillooet, and a wonderful attraction for new residents and visitors.
SWIMS’ mission statement is to have the pool open and accessible year-round, as an indoor facility is meant to be operated. In this way, programs could grow; classes such as Aquasize, Aquazumba, kayaking, etc. can be offered; and SwimClub and swimming lessons can be scheduled, ensuring a higher graduation rate and steady employment for . lifeguards; and folks needing hydrotherapy can be guaranteed a facility for rehab.
Working towards this year-round goal, SWIMS will offer the District funding to extend the current pool season by at least another month. Ideally, that would be at the beginning of the season, during the colder months. Folks have often stated the colder months are when the pool would be most appreciated for exercise and recreation. While less expensive to operate in the summer, with outdoor swimming, school holidays and vacations, swimming indoors is less of a priority.
While "loonie swims" may see 40+ children happily enjoying the pool, other users include adults and seniors who depend on the pool for fitness and rehabilitation from surgery or injuries. In Lillooet, the median age is over 50, and 1/4 of our total population is over 65. While we may be "guaranteed rugged," mountain biking or alpine hiking may not be possible for many in our current and future demographic.
Many people surveyed stated they would like to see a new hot tub at the REC Centre.
SWIMS is considering sponsoring a "thermometer-style" fund-raising effort to make this a reality. Xwisten has contributed $10,000 toward this goal, and we feel that with additional contributions from other bands, the community-at-large, service clubs and the District, a new hot tub can become a reality.
Three years ago, Lillooet faced possible closure of the REC Centre. Working together, we have numerous repairs and upgrades to the facility. When people get involved, good things happen. SWIMS will have a table at the Harvest Festival Sept. 8. Stop by, pick up a free SWIMS decal and let’s talk up the pool!