Citing strain on its fiscal operating budget, North Cowichan generally locks the Cowichan Aquatic Centre’s doors on holidays.
That will change this coming Family Day, Monday, Feb. 10, when the pool will open for four hours and admission will be at a reduced rate.
Community feedback, the generosity of CUPE 358 and the province’s establishment of the Family Day holiday have all contributed to the special holiday opening.
"On May 28, 2012, the province of British Columbia established Family Day… This holiday celebrates the importance of families and family life to people and their communities," North Cowichan Parks and Recreation Director Ernie Mansueti wrote in a report to council. "The province has urged communities to hold celebrations within their community or recreation centres. The Aquatic Centre is a major recreation facility within the Cowichan Valley. The facility is an important venue for families to enjoy an active fun
Residents were frustrated on B.C. Day 2013 to learn Cowichan’s pool would be closed but they could drive to Crystal Pool in Victoria and swim there for free thanks to CUPE Local 50.
While it won’t be free in Duncan come February, it will be at a reduced rate thanks to CUPE Local 358.
"CUPE 358 has kindly offered $1,125 to assist with expenses," Mansueti confirmed. "The $1,125 represents 50 per cent of the estimated subsidy for the fourhour operation of the Aquatic Centre."
Admission will be $2 for adults, seniors and youth aged 13 and up, while a Loonie will get children under 12 in the door.
"Good on CUPE by the way," Councillor Al Siebring said when council approved the changes.
Prior to 2012, on select statutory holidays the Centre was open for five hours per day. The pool’s partners hemorrhaged money, however, as per the current collective agreement, labour costs double on statutory holidays.