Vernon need a new pool?

Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes! The current pool at the recreation centre is outdated and filthy,  it is over crowded and understaffed! It is impossible to enroll multiple children in different levels of swim lessons on the same day and time! 

The change rooms are disgusting with little to no privacy. The family change rooms don't even have private stalls or lockers. I hate bringing my young girls there for lessons, knowing that afterwards I will have to strategically hold towels in front of them to give them some semblance of privacy since all the little boys will also be changing in the wide open space. 

The women's change room is no better. The floors are slimy and wads of hair and dirt can be seen covering the floors and drains. Don't complain though, or bring the filthy state up to the staff. The only response will be a dirty look and a comment about not having enough staff to clean it!

I absolutely dread going there, but I do on average 3 times a week. Swimming is a very important part of our families lifestyle. I wouldn't go if I had any other choice.

Not only are the facilities out of date, but the swim lesson program is also very outdated! The mentality of the aquatic staff is that if a child isn't able to display 100% of the skills in their level on the day of testing they fail. They must take the entire level over even if they only need to work on 1 or 2 things.  I have been told by numerous instructors that if I want my child to pass a level the first time, then it is up to me to bring them to the pool and instruct them myself.

Their philosophy is that it doesn't matter if a child is ready to learn new skills if they don't have enough "hours in the pool". Therefore, another round of lessons must be purchased and endured for 8-10 weeks. Even if the child does improve and is ready to move up within the first few classes, the instructors will not move a child up to the next level until all the classes are done. So the kids get bored repeating the exact same things over and over. It's a complete waste of time and money!

This is why I have to go to the pool 3 times a week, so that I can instruct my children while also paying for lessons. But I wouldn't go if there was any other choice! I used to love and look forward to swimming, but the Vernon pool is gross, cold and crowded!

The YMCA program in Kelowna provides continuouse swim lessons where all levels are offered at the same time, on the same day of the week, continuously. So families that have multiple children can come at the same time and day every week. Also, the philosophy there is that children aren't held back if they need a bit more time to develop 1-2 skills at a certain level. Usually the same instructor moves through the levels with the same kids so they actually get to know the child and their individual needs. Parents are not expected to teach their children outside of lessons and money isn't being thrown down the drain because kids aren't repeating entire lessons.

I strongly encourage the city of Vernon to invest in a new pool! Better yet, bring in a new YMCA! The programs and facilities offered by the YMCA are outstanding and far better than any of the programs offered at the recreation centre!

Danielle Smith

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