As we bundle up in our parkas and shovel the fresh layer of snow off the sidewalk, we can only dream of jumping into a swimming pool under sunny skies.
Back in the flip-flop and T-shirt weather of summer 2012, more than 18,600 visitors came out to Brandon’s three spray parks. The city’s two outdoor pools recorded more than 9,000 visitors.
Bryce Wilson, the city’s manager of recreation development, recently presented the season summary for outdoor pools and spray parks to city council.
"The last couple years have been very successful … (The spray parks) are very popular," Wilson said.
Westridge Park was the most popular with 9,400 visitors, followed by Kin Park with 5,600 and Stanley Park with 3,500 visitors.
Wilson said there have been a number of requests for proper washrooms at the Westridge spray park.
"There’s currently no permanent washroom facilities there. We do have port-o-potties come in there every year, but there has been a big desire for the permanent washrooms," he said.
Community Services will be proposing $40,000 in the 2014 capital budget to construct washroom facilities.
Meanwhile, construction is expected to begin next year on Brandon’s fourth spray park in Rideau Park.
"Through the recreation master plan, Rideau Park was recognized as the next recreation hub," Wilson said.
The spray park was originally in the 2011-12 budget deliberations, but it got pushed to 2013.
"We are anticipating doing the Rideau Park project in 2013, so that will include a spray park, small wading pool … washrooms and mechanical room, some new playground structures and an entertainment stage," he said.
Wilson said they are budgeting $700,000 for the project.
"That number may change through budget deliberations," he said.
Attendance at Brandon’s two outdoor pools was down from 2011. The Kinsmen Pool at Rideau Park had 5,500 visitors, while the Kiwanis YMCA Keystone Pool had 3,500 visitors.
With last summer’s great weather, the staff had hoped to break the attendance record from the previous year, however attendance was down more than 1,100 from 2011.
Wilson said both pool facilities are beginning to show their age and will require capital upgrades in the upcoming years.
"There’s just a couple of spots in the Keystone Kiwanis pool … where water is pooling in the change room and on the deck," Wilson said. "So just for health concerns we need to repair those."
Wilson said they will complete the minor repairs next year before the pool opens for another season.
City administration has determined that "considerable capital upgrades" will be required for both pools and an overall study is required to help determine the best direction to proceed.
Wilson proposed a budget of $50,000 to perform the studies on the two pools in the 2014 capital budget. The studies will also give the community services department direction on summer aquatic needs in Brandon.