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Fort Macleod outdoor pool project under way

From left: Coun. David Orr, Coun. Jim Monteith, Coun Marco Van Huigenbos, Mayor Brent Feyter, Coun. Kristi Edwards, Coun. Gord Wolstenholme and Coun. Werner Dressler staged a symbolic sod-turning as the $2.85-million outdoor pool project got under way.

Work began last week on Fort Macleod’s long-awaited outdoor pool project.

Town council held a symbolic sod-turning ceremony as crews from Ossaterra General Earthwork and Demolition mobilized.

“The pool’s been around 60 years and it’s been such a feature already,” Mayor Brent Feyter said in an interview. “To be able to modernize it, to make it a little more user-friendly and attractive to the youth, I think it’s great.”

Council in June awarded a $2.85-million contract to Acapulco Pools with a plan to have the new pool ready by next July.

Over the past two decades the Town of Fort Macleod has invested in repairs to keep the old pool operating, while considering a major upgrading.

“It needed to be replaced,” Feyter said. “We didn’t have a choice on that. It’s in dire need of replacement. It’s either that or no pool.”

After public consultation council settled on a design for the new pool that includes a new six-lane 25-meter pool, lazy river area, one-meter diving board, beach entry and mechanical room.

Other features include a water umbrella, dump buckets, spray jets, 10-foot climbing wall, artifical turf and hydrojets.

The project includes demolition of the existing pool, tennis courts and skate park.

Feyter said the outdoor pool is important in a family-friendly community.

“It’s similar to a skating rink in a community our size,” Feyter said. “All the youth count on using it.”

Over the past six decades the old pool was a popular summer hub as children and adults took swimming lessons, participated in the Sharks swim club and beat the summer heat.

The mayor said the Town of Fort Macleod is in a strong position financially to embark on the outdoor pool project.

“We’ve been reviewing it for quite some time,” Feyter said.

The town has money in reserves and is expecting the province to release some more infrastructure funding that can be directed toward the pool.

The Town of Fort Macleod decided not to open the outdoor pool in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the whole COVID-19 pandemic we felt now was the right time to do it,” Feyter said. “There was a whole lot of uncertainty about the season anyways.”

Feyter said council is optimistic the new pool will serve Fort Macleod and district residents for another 60 years.

“By all means we’re hoping this one can last 60 years,” Feyter said with a smile. “It’s a big investment but if you spread it out over that time I think it begins to make a lot more sense.”