The pool and the other facilities at the Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre are always busy with a wide variety of activities and programs.                                Tom Best photo

The pool and the other facilities at the Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre are always busy with a wide variety of activities and programs. Tom Best photo

Busy Bulkley Valley Pool needs volunteer board members

The Bulkley Valley Regional Pool & Rec Centre needs volunteers to step up at the June 21 AGM.

Drop by the Bulkley Valley Regional Pool and Recreation Centre almost any time of day and you’ll find something going on. It might be a special program or maybe just some people taking advantage of what the facility has to offer in the way of fitness equipment . There is always something going on.

As with all such organizations, there are boards of directors and a variety of meetings. The annual general meeting for the facility will be held on June 21, at 7 p.m. at town hall. Anyone interested in becoming a member of the board is encouraged to attend.

Some facilities will have dead time but it doesn’t seem this one does.

It has the pool, a well-equipped fitness room, a challenging climbing wall and a couple of adjustable squash courts, and a hot tub and sauna. Not bad for what started off as a much smaller vision quite a few years ago.

Now the time is coming when the facility needs a professional assessment as part of long-term planning.

Facility manager Tamara Gillis feels that it is an exciting time for the board of directors.

“We’ll be looking at long-term plans and we’ll be looking at the longevity of the facility. It’s is aging and we want to make plans for the future,” she said.

The first step in the process will be a facility condition assessment and this has gone out for bids. The hope is this will be done by the end of the year. The board of directors will take the report and make plans based on recommendations in the report.

There have already been a lot of informal suggestions. For example, an Olympic sized swimming pool always seems to come up. Most people don’t realize that such a pool is 10 lanes wide and 50 meters long. That is actually about five times the size of the current pool.

Some more practical suggestions have been a bigger fitness room and a water slide.

They would also like to increase some of the features currently offered, for example having more lane time available for lap swimming. This popular activity has limitations at the current time due to the programs that are offered and the actual numbers of lanes that may be available.

Some other current constraints include lack of space for facility administration to run most effectively. There are no designated classrooms or meeting rooms, for example, and office space is very cramped.

“We want to increase the functionality of the facility,” said Gillis.

The board of directors of the facility is looking for at least four new members. Currently they have eight members but some will be leaving as their term is completed and there could be up to nine.

Its not a huge time commitment, according to Gillis, since it meets once a month. It’s role is to work with staff and be a sounding board for management.

This particular board is unique in the way it operates. While most similar facilities are operated by a single community, this one receives tax funding from Smithers, Telkwa and Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako Rural Area A. The building is owned by the regional district, not a single community town.

The facility board of directors reports to the pool committee of the regional district which is composed of members of the communities in the region.

Gillis feels that the pool has been well maintained for its age.

“The average lifespan of such a facility is around 30 to 40 years and this one won’t last forever,” she said. “Our pool was at the top end of what was available when it was built but it’s showing its age.”

While there has been some reserve funding allocated, it would undoubtedly not cover a new pool. A new facility will be expensive. Vanderhoof is in the process of constructing a new pool with a budget in the range of $16 million.

Major repairs and renovations are also expensive. Currently, Terrace has closed it’s pool for such a project with a budget in the range of over $4 million.

Upcoming Events

As always, the facility is running flat out with it’s regular programming as well as it’s popular special events.

It’s introductory triathlon for all ages will be held June 11. Last year, there were 78 participants and this year, facility programmer Kayla Watrich hopes to get 85-90. She feels that it is a great way to experience one of the favorite activities in the area. The event is still looking for volunteers. Check-in will be on Sunday morning at 8 with the race set to go at 9.

They will host a School’s Out Pool Party June 29, 1:30-3 p.m.

Throughout the summer there will be a variety of special events. Each week will have a special theme with the exception of July 24-28, when they will welcome the Girl Guides of Canada Spirit Of Adventure Rendezvous (SOAR) Camp.

Bulkley Valley Rec Centre

 

Tamara Gillis has been the facility manager of the Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre for the past two years.                                (Tom Best photos)

Tamara Gillis has been the facility manager of the Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre for the past two years. (Tom Best photos)