(WOLFVILLE, NS) -- Acadia University announced today that it will keep its swimming pool closed indefinitely. The difficult decision was made for two reasons – to ensure the safety and well-being of pool users and to address annual financial losses.
“These two factors make this an unfortunate but necessary decision at this time,” said Chris Callbeck, Vice-President, Finance and Administration, and CFO.
“While providing exceptional value to our community, the swimming pool at Acadia University has been operating at an annual deficit for the past several years,” he said. “The global pandemic has impacted the University financially, and we simply cannot justify the expenditure at this time.”
He acknowledged the considerable impact on residents in the Town of Wolfville and communities throughout the Annapolis Valley region, who make up more than 85 percent of the aquatics facility users.
“We do not want to disappoint our community, but concern for their health and safety is another reason for us to shutter the pool,” Callbeck explained. “The pool access and changeroom design make cross-over between community users and students inevitable.”
Currently, Acadia University is in phase 4 of its re-opening plan, which does not allow the general public to be on campus. The purpose is to limit contact between campus and community members and ensure the University can do adequate contact tracing if COVID-19 is suspected on campus. Limited access to the Athletics facilities is in place for private businesses and youth camps, and the facility is working toward its next phase of public access.
“It is a sad new reality we have to face,” Callbeck said. “Since the pool was built in 1967, it has become a hub for many regional activities and on-campus programs like S.M.I.L.E. and our varsity swim team.”
The University has notified community partners and committed to working with on-campus programs to find alternatives. In particular, if Atlantic University Sport reinstates the varsity season, Callbeck said Acadia Athletics would help the varsity swim team with alternative training locations.
Last year, the University and Town of Wolfville commissioned a comprehensive review of the Acadia Athletics Complex. The purpose was to consider the future function of the facility and analyze various options. Sierra Planning and Management consultants reviewed infrastructure requirements, program development potential, and options for stakeholder collaboration and cost-sharing.
“We recognized long ago that we had to balance fiscal discipline with our desire to serve our students and provide recreational services to the region,” said Callbeck. “Early discussions with government partners and other constituents have begun, and we will continue our dialogue in hopes that it can contribute to developing a sustainable solution.”
Manager, University Communications
Office of the President