Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit February 16, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Nunavut capital’s new pool is popular, early report finds

Drop-in visits high, pass sales low, programs coming down the pipe

Iqaluit Coun. Joanasie Akumalik said in a city recreation committee report Feb. 14 that most Iqalungmiut using the new pool and fitness centre are paying drop in fees for now rather than buying monthly and annual passes. He said new programs and classes will be rolled out soon. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Iqaluit Coun. Joanasie Akumalik said in a city recreation committee report Feb. 14 that most Iqalungmiut using the new pool and fitness centre are paying drop in fees for now rather than buying monthly and annual passes. He said new programs and classes will be rolled out soon. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Iqaluit's new aquatic centre, as seen from the wading pool, on opening day. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Iqaluit's new aquatic centre, as seen from the wading pool, on opening day. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

Backed by strong attendance figures over its first weeks in operation, Iqaluit’s new aquatic centre continues to roll out its official schedule, but the city’s recreation chair said more work must to be done hammering out the kinks, during an update at Iqaluit City Council Feb. 14.

“Things are going very well, but we are not perfect,” said city councillor and recreation committee chair, Joanasie Akumalik.

Some of the early concerns brought to the committee’s attention include the safety of pedestrians outside the front of the facility and visitors who can’t figure out where to park.

“We talking about the parking in detail and one of the issues that kept coming up was signage,” Akumalik said, as well as crosswalk signs in front of the centre.

“We will eventually ask for speed bumps for the safety of the public, especially kids.”

Other smaller deficiencies brought to the attention of management include overly hot handles on the sauna doors, changing room doors, and shower temperatures.

Coun. Terry Dobbin added that the city must improve awareness of the facility’s second parking lot, located beside the Elks Lodge.

If the initial attendance numbers continue, that parking lot won’t stay empty for long.

According to figures collected by the city, the aquatic centre’s opening weekend drew about 4,000 visits, or drops-ins; each following weekend thereafter has seen an average of roughly 1,500 visits.

Weekday attendance has hovered around 150 visits per day.

And between 20 and 50 people use the first-floor fitness centre during peak hours.

The centre’s multi-purpose room has also been booked solid through to the fall, Akumalik noted.

“The schedule for the past two weeks was very helpful for determining the peak times and demands, it was used as a trial period and allowed us to make adjustments for the following schedules.”

Some of those adjustments are just making their way down the pipe.

New fitness programs are rolling out later this week, along with the first set of swim lessons coming sometime in March.

Security passes for monthly and yearly members will also be circulated in March, accompanied by a roll-out of electronic booking and registration for programs.

Further into the year, Akumalik says the centre wants to begin swim teams for kids and adults, kayaking courses and water polo games.

But many residents might be waiting to see how the city’s roll-out of programs unfolds before they commit to membership—according to initial counts, there’s far fewer members than drop-in visitors.

Just over 200 individual monthly passes have been sold to date, along with 51 family monthly passes.

Sales of annual passes are much lower—so far only 32 individual and 22 family passes have been sold.

Akumalik did not field questions from council, as the city’s recreations director, Amy Elgersma, was not present to assist him.

“I’m sorry that the director of recreation was not able to be here,” he said.

“She’s been very helpful and I’m very proud that she was able to go through all the hassle but people are genuinely happy right now [with the facility].”

Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern echoed Akumalik’s sentiments.

“It’s a tremendous achievement, we can see it’s already becoming a well used facility and a focal point of our community, not only for socializing but for healthy activity.”

For more information or updates to the Aquatic Centre’s programming, visit the city’s website here.

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(11) Comments:

#1. Posted by fairness on February 16, 2017

The facility looks great, and I love Pita Shack. Gotta say though, it makes no sense for there to be no option to pay to use only the gym. I have no interest in the pool, and wish to use only the gym. It isn’t fair to charge us to use both if we aren’t using both. A simple stamp on the hand, a ticket or a wristband would keep people from sneaking over and using the pool or the gym if they haven’t paid the appropriate fees. That’s how it works at many other municipal-run rec centres. I will not pay to for something that I have no intention of using.

#2. Posted by ..... on February 16, 2017

As long as there are no payment options for the annual family pass I’m pretty sure you won’t see very many of those purchased.

Other than that the center is a great source of physical activity for all ages.

#3. Posted by betty on February 16, 2017

#1 it is what it is. it costs to go in the facility to use the facility. swim or exercise or both, thats the rate. simple. keep it that way. no one seems to have issues with it.Like says i fly to ottawa and dont eat the meal or beverages on the plane, charge me a different rate.

#4. Posted by Schedule on February 16, 2017

it would be nice if they have a “SET” permanent schedule…not change it every WEEK !! annoying

#5. Posted by fairness on February 16, 2017

Actually #3, “that’s the rate. simple,” is not quite correct. There is a fee to use the pool only, and then a different fee to use the pool and gym together. And yes, there are others who find that frustrating, as comments in previous articles indicate. Just because “it is what it is” doesn’t mean it has to stay that way forever. It’s good to be positive and laid back, but just shrugging and accepting things that make no sense leads to lousy services, generally speaking.
Anyway, like I said earlier, looks like a great facility.

#6. Posted by Navel gazer on February 17, 2017

#3 Betty, just saying “it is what it is” and “simple” is the mark of a lazy mind in my opinion.

Different rates for gym and swim, or a combined rate for using both is very common in facilities like this, and I would guess it would lead to increased revenue overall. Personally I would be more inclined to use the gym, and more often, if it was reasonably priced than otherwise.

#7. Posted by Top Drawer on February 17, 2017

I am with Fairness, I am only interested in the gym and have no interest in the pool personally, (though very excited for the rest of you!) and would absolutely pay for a monthly or annual gym pass alone. Betty sees things a little cut and dry. Just as the schedule and the programs will likely be ever evolving and changing, I hope the City will evolve and see a need for a Gym pass alone.

Other then that, it is a fantastic facility for all ages! I have heard someone from every category from ‘Tots’ to ‘Elders’ sing the praises. Its so great to see Iqaluitmiut becoming healthier and more active in the Winter!

#8. Posted by early stage on February 17, 2017

The pool facility is in the common honeymoon stage.  Lots to adjust to and will become a normal part of life in time.  The electrical grid will determine the rise and fall of usage.  Power outage could mean pool facility is closed until further notice.  Summer will be a wait and see.

Cast out the net to the sponsors of Olympic swim hopefuls to train at the pool facility to help pay for maintenance.  Work out a package to include Nunavut, the place to train at the pool facility in Iqaluit and more.

#9. Posted by Northern Guy on February 17, 2017

#4 the reason that the schedule keeps changing is that day-to-day the centre doesn’t have enough certified life guards to keep two pools open. As a result swims often have to canceled rescheduled or reduced if a guard is sick or can’t make a shift. Anyone interested in guarding should contact Iqaluit Recreation, they will likely pay for your certification. The more guards the more likely the aquatic centre will be able to settle on a firm schedule.

#10. Posted by Frustrated parents of Iqaluit on February 19, 2017

To bad they don’t have the staff to get their customers in ! Children are not getting in after waiting 30 min. Then turned away because of lack of staff !

#11. Posted by Parent on February 20, 2017

We bought the monthly pass but most times we can’t get in, the line is so long, after waiting they say there is no more room.
So much for the monthly pass, I am glad I didn’t go for the yearly pass.

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