Citing strain on its fiscal operating budget, North Cowichan generally locks the Cowichan Aquatic Centreâ€™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 provinceâ€™s establishment of the Family Day holiday have all contributed to the special holiday opening.
â€œOn 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,â€ North Cowichan Parks and Recreation Director Ernie Mansueti wrote in a report to council. â€œThe 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 day together.â€
Residents were frustrated on B.C. Day 2012 to learn Cowichanâ€™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 wonâ€™t be free in Duncan come February, it will be at a reduced rate thanks to CUPE local 358.
â€œCUPE 358 has kindly offered $1,125 to assist with expenses,â€ Mansueti confirmed. â€œThe $1,125 represents 50 per cent of the estimated subsidy for the four-hour operation of the Aquatic Centre.â€
Admission will be $2 for adults, seniors and youth aged 13 and up, while a Loonie will get children under 12 in the door.
â€œGood on CUPE by the way,â€ Councillor Al Sebring said when council approved the changes.
Prior to 2012, on select statutory holidays the Centre was open for five hours per day. The poolâ€™s partners hemorrhaged money, however, as per the current collective agreement, labour costs double on statutory holidays.