The public heard Monday (June 15) that the pool at Panorama Recreation Centre likely won’t open until September.
Coun. Heather Gartshore of North Saanich offered this time frame when updating the public on the state of the local recreation against the back-drop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But reopening of the pool should not be confused with a return to pre-pandemic activities following its closure in mid-March. Future users of the swimming lanes will have to reserve them in advance, she said. Would-be participants of aquatic programs such as Aqua Fit and Aqua Spin will also have to reserve ahead with available capacity reduced. The facility’s lazy river will also be available by reservation only.
This planned practice mirrors current practices around the centre’s weight room, which opened on June 10. Would-be users must reserve a spot in advance online or over the phone, with weekly classes available for reservation at noon on the Friday prior. A total of nine workout slots, each 90 minutes long, are available during open hours.
Looking at other fitness and rehabilitation offerings, traditional indoor programs such spinning, yoga and TRX have moved outdoors. In case of rain, they have moved into the arena, Gartshore said. Those programs also require reservations and have received high levels of uptake.
“In terms of the arena, they will be opening one ice sheet early due to demand, but are continuing to wait for [provincial health] guidelines around things like hockey, speed skating and figure skating,” she said.
While organizers have cancelled many youth and summer camps, many are going forward under revised guidelines. “They will be all outside, so everybody is going to get a lot of fresh air this coming year,” she said. Organizers have also cancelled all field trips usually part of summer camps.
This said, organizers are looking at what Gartshore called “typical fall programming for professional development” and the “possibility that there will be more day camps with part-time school options as we are moving forward.”
Panorama Recreation Centre has been steadily reopening. In addition to facilities mentioned earlier, the outdoor tennis courts have reopened, with organizers having re-opened outdoor tennis courts on June 18. (A reservation system will also be available for pickleball.)
Gartshore said staff have worked hard to maintain and update the facility.
Mayor Geoff Orr welcomed these developments.
“It’s an important part of our community and the Peninsula overall,” he said.
Gartshore along with Orr sit on the Peninsula Recreation Commission, a partnership between municipalities of Sidney, North Saanich, and Central Saanich. The Capital Regional District’s Panorama Recreation Centre is the commission’s main facility, with North Saanich having acquired the land as part of the Dean Park development.
The commission also operates a smaller satellite facility in Sidney, the Greenglade Community Centre.