Vancouver’s indoor pools will begin reopening this fall with new safety measures

THE Vancouver Park Board will begin reopening its indoor pools in mid-September to support aquatics users across the city. Throughout September and October, eight of the Park Board’s nine indoor pools will be open for community and swim club use. All indoor pools were closed in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reopenings will follow a phased approach, with four pools opening in September, and four in October.

Work is underway to reopen HillcrestKerrisdaleBritannia and the Vancouver Aquatic Centre with a target date of September 14. 

KillarneyTempleton, Lord Byng, and Renfrew will follow and are anticipated to reopen October 13. 

Kensington pool will not reopen this fall due to its size, which is too small to safely accommodate the physical distancing required for aquatic use during the pandemic.

“The reopening of our indoor pools marks a huge milestone for the Park Board’s pandemic recovery plan,” said Camil Dumont, Chair of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. “We know just how much public demand there is for access to our pools and our staff have done an exceptional job of planning for the safe resumption of swimming in the city. While it would be amazing to be able to open all eight pools at once, it’s not possible from a facilities and maintenance perspective, as it’s a huge operational lift.”

The Park Board is working toward Sept. 14 as opening day at the first four pools, however timelines may be adjusted slightly, depending on operational and maintenance requirements.

Reservations and drop-ins

Indoor pools will offer designated lap and public swimming sessions, as well as reserved training sessions for sport organizations. Admission will be managed through an online reservation system and in-person drop-ins. Leisure Access Program passes will also be accepted.

Safety and cleaning protocols

There will be a buffer between swim periods during which time the facilities will be sanitized and prepared for the next group. The pools will reopen with reduced maximum capacities, in alignment with new protocols around physical distancing. Lifeguards will wear personal protective equipment while on duty and will be supported by staff to conduct spot cleans on equipment, facilities, and high-touch areas. These new safety protocols were developed specifically for indoor pool usage and are aligned with Lifesaving Society Canada guidelines. Enhanced safety protocols have also been developed in conjunction with WorkSafe BC.

What’s new for swimmers

●     Wider lanes for length swimming

●     Directional signage will be on site and new procedures will be implemented for accessing change rooms, pool deck, and pool entry/exit 

●     Snorkels will not be permitted and there will be no rentals of swimming goggles, towels, or kickboards

Showers, change rooms and lockers will be available to patrons, but limits will be placed on the number of people who can visit change rooms at any given time. The phased safe-return plan for indoor pools was developed in anticipation of federal and provincial funding support.