Nunavut capital’s new pool is popular, early report finds
Drop-in visits high, pass sales low, programs coming down the pipe
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.