Work began on Boissevain’s new pool last summer.(File)

Keeping young people safe when they’re out on the water is one of the main reasons Wendy Giesbrecht, director of parks and recreation for the Municipality of Boissevain-Morton, is looking forward to the opening of the community’s new $3-million swimming pool next month.

It’s extremely important that children all across Canada learn how to swim, and they need a pool to take swimming lessons, Giesbrecht said. A lot of people from Boissevain enjoy swimming, not only in the pool but in lakes in the area, and the best chance for people to enjoy aquatic activities safely is to take swimming lessons.

“In southern Manitoba, where we are here, these kids are also going to Lake William and Killarney Lake, and they’re going out and swimming in bigger bodies of water. So for them to have a place locally that they can get those fundamental skills is pretty important.”

The pool in Boissevain, located 73 kilometres southwest of Brandon, has always offered Red Cross swimming lessons. When the Canadian Red Cross announced its decision to wind down its involvement in all swimming and lifeguarding programs to direct more attention to humanitarian efforts, the recreation department switched to providing lessons from the Royal Lifesaving Society of Canada. These new lessons are more in-depth, and should serve young swimmers even better than the ones from the Red Cross did, Giesbrecht hopes.

The Lifesaving Society of Manitoba says that over 450 Canadians die in preventable water-related incidents annually. In Manitoba, on average, there are 22 fatal drownings every year.

The new pool features a slanted entry, a lazy river, water slides,a pool for lap swimming and a pool for younger children to enjoy. Work by Western Recreation & Development Inc., a company that specializes in the design and construction of municipal waterparks, swimming pools, waterslides, spray parks and splash pads, began last summer. The company has been busy building and assembling the components of the pool’s mechanical system off site in their shop, and Parkside Construction has completed the construction of the new mechanical building for the facility. The new tot slide has also arrived for the pool and includes stairs up to the slide, along with a built-in tunnel.

The overall construction progress continues to be on schedule and on budget, the municipality’s website states. The new washroom and shower building for the Boissevain Lions Campground has been built. This centrally located building within the campground includes universal and accessible/family washroom and shower units.

The swimming pool is the heart of recreation for Boissevain during the summer months, Giesbrecht said. It draws people not only from the municipality but from the surrounding communities to come and cool off on a hot summer day, and also offers swimming lessons to children and young people.

“Our old pool needed some work to be up to code,” she said. “You need to keep your town vital, so we came up with a new plan.”

Giesbrecht has been overwhelmed by the “outstanding” sponsorship and donations the new pool has received. The municipality received a $300,000 grant from the provincial government’s Building Sustainable Communities Fund toward the cost of the new pool.

“The community has all come together and sponsored the pool. It’s an amazing thing to see the community rally,” Giesbrecht said.

Head of Council for Boissevain-Morton Judy Swanson said she’s very proud of the work that the recreation department of the Municipality of Boissevain-Morton has put in to make the new pool a reality, since it’s such a big part of the community, which has a lot of young families living in it. The previous pool was just over 50 years old and past needing replacement. The municipality’s website says that the average lifespan of an outdoor pool is 29 years.

“If you’re going to have young families, you need to have facilities that they use,” Swanson told the Sun.

But it’s not just families with young children that are looking forward to the new facility opening, she added.

“I’ve had a lot of people, both old and young and of all ages, come and say, ‘We’re really happy with this,’” Swanson said. “Our pool has been a centre of our community for a long time, but we needed to replace it. So we are very happy about being able to do that.”

By Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 27, 2023 at 14:42

This item reprinted with permission from   Brandon Sun   Brandon, Manitoba
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