Due to the financial and operational impacts of COVID-19, Council has made the difficult decision to not open the Golden Swimming Pool for the 2020 summer season.
At the council meeting held on Tuesday, June 2, council was presented with a variety of scenarios outlining the operating and financial impacts of the pool remaining closed or reopening for the season.
Ultimately, the impacts in the scope of operations for the Golden Swimming Pool under COVID-19 guidelines would have been substantial compared to previous seasons and Council determined this would not be feasible for the 2020 season.
“This was a very difficult and gut-wrenching decision for all of Council,” said Mayor Ron Oszust. “We know that the Golden Swimming Pool is a big part of summer in Golden, but with the impacts of COVID-19 on the length of the season, the challenges and risks in operating procedures and the cost of running the facility, it just isn’t feasible to open it this year.”
Some of these impacts would have included a shorter operating season of only two months, from July to August; limited capacity of up to 40 people at any given time. During a regular season, the pool can see upwards of over 70 people in the water and over 100 people in the building at any given time.
The inability to offer swim lessons and other programming as a result of physical distancing requirements also played a key role.
Council was also aware of the potential for closure due to another COVID-19 outbreak in the coming months and the likelihood of limited visitation due to public uneasiness about the pandemic.
The uncertainty in maintaining sufficient staffing levels to meet operational criteria was also a contributing factor.
Council was also concerned with the unknown financial position of the municipality until after the October 1 penalty date for unpaid property taxes compelled council to place responsibility to the taxpayers over the delivery of a restricted and short-term service.
“Right now we are dealing with a lot of unknowns,” said Jon Wilsgard, Chief Administrative Officer. “As an organization, during times of uncertainty there are difficult decisions to be made, and this was definitely one of them for Council.”
“It really is unfortunate that we won’t be opening the pool this season,” said Jordan Petrovics, Manager of Recreation Services. “But, we do have some exciting things in store for parks and recreation spaces this summer, so stay tuned for that!”
Staff is currently working on alternative recreation programming at the Mount 7 Rec Plex and other facilities to make sure there are recreation opportunities for all ages this summer in Golden.