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This article was published 18/7/2011 (2169 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WAWANESA -- This time, the excess water was welcome in Wawanesa.
The community celebrated the opening of its new pool Monday afternoon.
The Wawanesa and District Water Park, which cost more than $1 million to complete, was opened at 1 p.m., immediately after it was given the green light from health inspectors.
"We had to go over some last-minute touches that we needed to have, so it was pretty busy this morning," said aquatic supervisor Cali Cline. "It's really overwhelming. I worked here for five years before we had a new pool, and it was falling apart. It was pretty sad. So just to be able to have a place like this for the community is awesome."
Cline said people in Wawanesa were anxious for the opening, especially in light of the recent hot weather threatening to break records.
"I was running some errands uptown and people were asking me 'What's the status of the pool?' because everyone was waiting to hear back from the health inspector," she said.
"We've had a rough spring and summer too, so it's taken a while. This is really going to lift everyone's spirits, I think."
Dozens of kids showed their appreciation in the form of cannonballs and games, or else they took a spin in the lazy river whirlpool portion of the pool, away from the water fountains that create an in-pool splash park.
Meaghan Beare was watching her two daughters from the sidelines.
"They've been counting down the days. They'd ask me every day when it would open," she said. "We needed it ... I almost think because it didn't open up right away, we even appreciate it more."
Her daughters will soon start swimming lessons at the pool now that it's open.
Amanda McGregor and her husband brought their two boys for a first swim. She said it was nice to see people having fun in the water.
"Everyone's been so busy in town working on the flood, it's nice to have something fun to relax and do for a while." she said. "We've been down here since it opened at one."
Memories of earlier flooding worries weren't completely out of sight -- the pool sits atop one bank of the Souris River, adjacent to the dam that needed helicopter help to survive earlier on in the flooding season.
An earthen dike separates the pool from the Souris' bank.
A vested worker even drove up onto the dike to do some maintenance work from heavy excavation equipment.
Two women whose homes are down the street from the pool said they were on notice for evacuation, though they never had to leave.
One woman said her backyard now contains a portion of the new earthen dike.
The community's fire chief, Dennis Gullett, is the chairman of the committee in charge of the pool. He said the town has now raised nearly $800,000 toward the pool.
"It's awesome, the whole community has pitched in so much. When we built the building, the day we went to lift the walls up there was one person (helping out) for every stud on the building. And we had 25 or 30 people to lay the sod the other night about a week ago. It's just been unbelievable," Gullett said.
He looked proud as he scanned all the people playing in the water.
Gullett said they're going to try to make up for lost time later because the opening was delayed into July.
"We hope to stay open a couple of weeks in September so the school kids can (take advantage)," he said before jumping back into the water.
People filtered in and out of the water throughout the afternoon to take their first dip in the pool.
Everyone seemed to talk about the hot weather and how they were grateful for a new place to cool off.