By GILLIAN SLADE on August 6, 2020.
Less than a week ago the swimming pool on the Southeast Hill was finally opened for the summer, and now it has been forced to closed for the season.
The city’s parks and recreation department report that vandalism occurred overnight on Tuesday resulting in the need to close.
General manager James Will says staff noticed a broken window on Wednesday morning and then the fact that a contaminant and container had been dumped into the pool. He says the contaminant was a substance that is easily accessible in households.
Medicine Hat Police Service believes the vandalism occurred either late on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
“It was reported that a liquid substance was intentionally poured into the pool which will result in thousands of dollars of cleanup, inconvenience and lost enjoyment for summer swimmers,” says a police report.
As a result of the vandalism the pool will need to be drained completely, which takes about two days. Staff will then have to do a full cleaning that includes scrubbing the pool surface and rinsing the water lines. The pool would then have to be refilled and the water heated again and samples sent for testing. That process would take two or three weeks, said Will.
“This is really unfortunate for our community. We know how excited people were to use this amenity,” said Will. “It would take weeks to reopen and that’s time we don’t have now that we’re into August.”
Will says this pool is typically closed at the end of August each year. Consideration was given to perhaps having the pool for an extra week in September, but it is now during the heat that the pool is most in demand.
That means this swimming pool will now remain closed for the rest of the season. After it is cleaned, staff will simply continue preparing it for winter.
All swimming lessons that were scheduled for Hill pool are cancelled.
Parks staff are busy reviewing the feasibility of accommodating lessons at other facilities.
The swimming pool at Strathcona Centre is still open for the public. Pre-registration is required – additional information is on the city’s website or call 403-502-8566.
The city is continuing to review operational guidelines in order to safely reopen Crestwood Recreation Centre with an anticipated opening in the fall.
Police are asking for the public’s help to locate those responsible for the vandalism. Call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous. Medicine Hat residents can also submit tips anonymously through the Medicine Hat Police Service mobile app, which is free to download and available for both Apple and Android devices.
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