Media release: Aquatic centre versatility
On October 15, 2022, eligible voters in Vernon will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing up to $121 million for the purpose of developing the Active Living Centre – a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility.
To help voters make a well-informed decision, the City of Vernon is distributing weekly media releases with project information and hosting a number of in-person information sessions at various open houses and local community events.
Based on discussions Recreation Services staff have had with members of the public, a couple of key questions have come up regarding the versatility of the proposed aquatics area.
The conceptual drawings don’t show many fixed aquatic play features. Why is this?
Based on extensive public input during the 2018 Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan and the subsequent Active Living Centre Feasibility Study, it was determined that if a new aquatic centre is built it needs to meet the everyday aquatic needs of a growing community while also having the ability to host events.
The proposed aquatics facility does not include permanent fixed amenities such as a wave pool or wave rider, which tend to lose public appeal after time and can be expensive to maintain. Instead, the recommendation is to include primarily portable play features in order to provide versatility for aquatic programming (including public swimming) and have the ability to host 25m and 50m swim competitions.
Familiar features such as slides, interactive sprays, bubblers, a rock-climbing wall, water walking mat and rope swing can easily offer play opportunities, along with more dynamic portable amenities such as a floating Wibit or Ninjacross course that can be used on a rotational basis.
If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, another round of public engagement will take place during the design phase to help inform the final design of the facility, including what play features will be included in the pool.
Below are examples of potential portable aquatic amenities.
Above photos: Examples of an aquatics ninjacross course that can be lowered from the ceiling to be used in a lap pool. Photo credit: NINJACROSS™ SYSTEMS
Lap swimming and leisure swimming generally require different water temperatures. How would this be accommodated?
If the Active Living Centre is built, the pools in the facility would be maintained similarly to the Vernon Aquatic Centre.
Recreation Services currently maintains the lap pool at the Vernon Aquatic Centre at a temperature of 28 degrees C / 82.4 degrees F. When there is a swim meet, the lap pool temperature gets lowered to 26.67 degrees C / 80 degrees F and then gets raised back up following the competition.
The current leisure pool is set at 31.5 degrees C / 88.7 degrees F. The proposed leisure pool in the Active Living Centre would be set at a similar warmer temperature and includes 3 x 25m lanes of warmer water that can be used for activities such as aqua therapy and pre-school swim lessons.
The current hot tub is set at 40 degrees C / 104 degrees F. The proposed Active Living Centre includes two hot tubs; one adult hot tub that would be set at 40 degrees C / 104 degrees F and a family hot tub that would be set at 38.88 degrees C / 102 F.
These temperatures are similar to other indoor aquatic facilities in the Okanagan Valley that have lap and leisure pools.
Where can I find more information?
Visit www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre to learn more about the proposed facility, the results of public and stakeholder engagement regarding the project, and how to participate in the referendum process.
If you have questions about the above information, please contact Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services, at email@example.com.