Calgarians invited to Cochrane recreation centre amid water restrictions

Click to play video: 'Cochrane welcomes Calgarians to enjoy aquatics centre, ice rinks'
Cochrane welcomes Calgarians to enjoy aquatics centre, ice rinks
WATCH: While pools and ice rinks remain closed in Calgary due to ongoing water restrictions, Cochrane is welcoming Calgarians to its Spray Lake Sawmills (SLS) Centre. As Tracy Nagai reports, people are being asked to check availability online ahead of a busy weekend.

With many summer camps and swimming lessons scheduled to begin as the school year winds down, Calgary city officials are still unable to provide a timeline on when pools and ice rinks would reopen.

It’s been two weeks since a catastrophic water main break in northwest Calgary triggered a water supply emergency in the city, and as crews work to restore normal water service, Mayor Jyoti Gondek said citizens are succeeding in their “gold-medal effort” to conserve water.

“As you have likely heard, we’ve had to close pools, cancel swimming lessons, pause street sweeping and delay other city programs,” Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) acting chief Coby Duerr said on Wednesday.

“Recreation has closed a number of pools to conserve water and during that time they’re doing much-needed maintenance.”

Click to play video: 'Calgary recreation centres cope with water shortage'
Calgary recreation centres cope with water shortage

Regular water supply is now expected to be restored in about three weeks, down from a previous estimate of five weeks.

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Gondek said on Wednesday the final two, large pieces of needed pipe have arrived from San Diego and are being sandblasted and coated with epoxy, which is expected to take two days.

Michael Thompson with the city’s infrastructure services department said crews are aiming to complete the work of replacing a number of sections of pipe by July 5th.

In the meantime, there’s another option for swim-seeking Calgarians willing to hit the road. Cochrane gets its water from the Bow River and has its own water treatment plant.

Officials at the Spray Lake Sawmills (SLS) Centre in Cochrane are inviting Calgarians to check out the space, which boasts many amenities including an aquatics centre, four ice rinks and an eight-sheet curling rink.

“Anybody is welcome,” SLS Centre CEO Erin Wagner said. “We’re busy with our own community members, but certainly Calgarians just needing a break are more than welcome to come out here.”

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“We’ve got a number of events going on this weekend and obviously our aquatics centre is a huge attraction.”

DJ Ulriksen, the centre’s manager of aquatics said since Calgary’s water woes began earlier this month, about 15 swim clubs and teams have reached out about booking time to train.

“The swimming community, they’re gearing up for their really big competitions,” Ulriksen explained. “This time of year is critical for them to make their qualifying times for provincials, champs and all those big competitions.”

Click to play video: 'Frustration growing over Calgary’s outdoor watering restrictions'
Frustration growing over Calgary’s outdoor watering restrictions

“It’s really exciting, I think that they have the Olympic rings in their vision,” said SLS Centre director of experience Catriona Hill.

“Having the pools closed in Calgary, they’re feeling like that’s a little bit in jeopardy.”

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While Calgarians are being invited out to the facility, officials are warning that the June 22-23 weekend is expected to be busy a busy one and people should check pool availability online before heading out to Cochrane.

On June 22, people are also welcome to attend the centre’s Summer Kickoff 2024 which includes a drive-in style movie, beer garden and dunk tank. The event runs from 7 -11 p.m.

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