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Loss of Jackson Pool felt keenly this summer

Cathy Dobson Soaring temperatures are keeping Sarnia’s only outdoor public pool swimming at capacity.
Cox Youth Centre Open Swim, Tecumseh Park
With Jackson Pool closed indefinitely the lineups have been long this summer at Tecumseh Pool and the Cox Youth Centre in Tecumseh Park. Glenn Ogilvie

Cathy Dobson

Soaring temperatures are keeping Sarnia’s only outdoor public pool swimming at capacity.

Lineups at Tecumseh Pool have been lengthy and some people turned away or left waiting nearly an hour after Jackson Pool was shut down for the season.

City council decided in April to close Jackson on East Street for safety reasons after staff recommended costly structural repairs.

The 44-by-82 foot pool was built in 1966 and requires at least $167,000 in repairs.

While the city awaits a staff report on Jackson Pool’s status this fall, losing one of two public pools in the sweltering heat has been frustrating.

“We miss Jackson Pool because there are usually big lineups here,” said Sally McCormick, a mother of three, while waiting in line for a free swim at Tecumseh last week.

Each Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Noelle’s Gift pays for a free community swim that always brings the pool to capacity in hot weather, says pool manager Joe McCormack.

“Our capacity with the pool and the splash pad is nearly 200,” he said.

Six staff members were added to Tecumseh when Jackson closed, and more swimming lessons were added to the schedule.

“We open half an hour earlier this summer and we’ve been able to accommodate all lessons,” said pool manager Jill Rodenhuis.

Beth Gignac, Sarnia’s former director of Park and Recreation, said her department has fielded complaints, especially from camps wanting to use Tecumseh but get there only to find long lineups.

“The pool can only accommodate so many people at a time,” said Gignac. “Sometimes people have to wait.

“But keep in mind, we also have many beaches where the water is warm and shallow. Murphy Road beach, Mike Weir, Baxter Beach and Canatara are all in great shape. We’re focusing our efforts on maintenance at the beaches and keeping them very safe.”