Attendance at Brandon’s Kinsmen pool is down so far this year and isn’t projected to reach the same levels as summer 2018.
City manager Rod Sage said that between June 17 and Aug. 4, 2, 135 people went to the east-end pool. During the entire 2018 season, which lasts until the end of August, 3,803 people used the pool.
Coun. Glen Parker (Riverview), who raised the issue at Monday evening’s Brandon City Council meeting, said anecdotally he hasn’t seen as many people at the pool when driving by.
Sage blamed the decrease in visitors on the aging facility — which was built in 1967 — not meeting people’s desires for an aquatics centre. He described the pool as a rectangular and ageing, and attendance has been dropping over the past five years. The next few weeks aren’t expected to bring out as many visitors as the temperature starts to drop after mid-August.
The YMCA Keystone Pool is closed for the season, which was expected to boost the number of people using the Kinsmen pool, but that hasn’t happened. Sage said that during the entire 2018 season a combined 5,722 people used Brandon’s pools.
The YMCA Keystone pool was closed after significant mechanical and structural issues were found at the pool after a harsh winter.
The city also announced extended hours at the Kinsmen pool to give people more of a chance to use it, but that hasn’t increased the number of visitors.
The news comes after the city released an updated Recreation Facilities Master plan earlier this year, which includes long-term plans to build a new outdoor aquatics centre. The facility would potentially include pools and water slides.
While the timeline set out in the master plan is vague, it says a feasibility study and detailed design will happen sometime between 2020 and 2024.
The Town of Souris has a large aquatics facility already, which some Brandonites may choose to make the drive out for rather than using the local facilities, said Perry Roque, the city’s director of community services. The Souris park features a large pool and two water slides.
Brandonites specifically told the city they wanted an outdoor aquatics facility, he said, which is why it was included in the master plan. He said he believes that would drive more people to the city’s summer-time water parks.
The reduction in people at the Kinsmen pool this year could also be due to the new spray parks that opened up, which people might be choosing to go to instead. Even so, Roque said he doesn’t have a definitive reason as to why people have stayed away from the pool this year.
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