Water troubles may spell the end for the Marion Aquatics Pool

Tyler Clarke
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Plunging deeper and deeper into debt, Prince Albert's boil water order may spell the end for the Marion Aquatics Pool.

Sisters Annette and Jean look over the Marion Aquatics Pool.

Plunging deeper and deeper into debt, Prince Albert's boil water order may spell the end for the Marion Aquatics Pool.

"It's very worrisome for us," Sister Jean said. "We don't want to close the pool - we want to keep it open to the community ... If the doors close, it's not because we haven't tried and wanted to keep it open to the public."

Like the city's other public pool - the taxpayer-subsidized Frank Dunn Pool - the Marion Aquatics Pool was closed Feb. 7 in response to the city's treated water testing positive for the potentially harmful giardia and cryptosporidium microorganisms.

"The sad thing is, the kids were waiting outside to start their lessons," Jean said.

Unlike the Frank Dunn Pool, the Marion Aquatics Pool isn't subsidized by taxpayers, instead depending entirely on the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, with Sisters Jean and Annette managing the pool on a volunteer basis to help keep costs down.

A pool typically booked solid throughout the week by aquasize groups, Red Cross swim lessons and family swims, a month's worth of unbroken water has racked up $15,000 in debt - an amount expected to reach greater heights by the end of the boil water order, which is estimated to last another month.

Having never been required to shut down this long in the past, and with fewer nuns in their convent than ever before footing the bill, the pool's future is now up in the air, Jean said.

"We run in the red without handling the shutdown," Jean said, adding that the group of 45 nuns - 35 of whom collect old age pension - can't afford the added financial stress the pool's shutdown has caused.

We don’t want to close the pool — we want to keep it open to the community … If the doors close, it’s not because we haven’t tried and wanted to keep it open to the public. Volunteer pool manager Sister Jean

"We can't put our elderly sisters in jeopardy either," she said, noting that about 20 of the Presentation of Mary's sisters are in the infirmary with costly medical needs that need tending to.

In October, the pool's millionth client dipped their toe in the pool, having first opened its doors in 1977.

"We have met thousands and thousands of beautiful people, and we have served the community," Jean said.

"And lovely people have become lifeguards," Annette added.

More information on the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary - a registered charitable organization - can be found on their website, www.presentationofmary.ca.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Red Cross

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Recent comments

  • River Park
    March 07, 2012 - 11:42

    River Park Memorial Chapel will be hosting a "pizza lunch" with all the proceeds going to help Marion Aquatics. March 27th from 11:30AM - 1:30PM 301 River Street West Enter though south parking lot doors Please RSVP to 764-2727 or by email riverparkfh@arbormemorial.com Cost: $10.00

  • FormerPAResident
    March 04, 2012 - 10:13

    Let's do a little comparison of the people the pools were named after, shall we? A wealthy entrepreneur whose pool is free to the public vs A nun who would earn a salary nowhere near what a Toyota tire costs. Where are you going to provide your support?

  • Melissa
    March 02, 2012 - 15:59

    Too bad that the pool may have to close, but I would never take my children there anyway, Yes, Frank Dunn may be full a lot, but its for a reason. It's better. You are treated like a human being at Frank Dunn, and at Marion it is so strict and you are treated like dirt. Customer Service helps keep places such as Marion open.

    March 02, 2012 - 14:59

    Marion Aquatics provides a valuable alternative to Frank Dunn pool, which is supported through taxes, and at similar rates. Frank Dunn does not offer nearly enough swimming lessons to accomodate everyone. My child first took swimming lessons at Marion Aquatics out of neccessity (Frank Dunn lessons were full) and continued taking lessons there because of the many lessons being offered and the quality of service. The Sisters of the Presentation do a really fine job with their pool and it would be a big loss to Prince Albert if they shut down due to the current city water problems. I think the City of Prince Albert should find a way to help them out.

  • First Nations Guy
    March 02, 2012 - 10:58

    Good Mornning, I don't go swimming there as I live away from Prince Albert but I can see two things that could help these Sister's. One is yes the city should help out this good cause. The secound is mabe the folks who go swimmimg there start a campain to raise money. Times are hard for most families but I am sure if everyone was to put in 1 to 2 dollors(a coffee cost) thatwe should be able to help out the pool from going under, if you no what I mean. Those who swim come forward and help the sister's. They have put their lives on the line for us now we can help them. I don't belong to their faith but we all look up for help. They need some. Take Care out there.

  • Dean
    March 01, 2012 - 22:27

    THIS is the sort of thing the City should be picking up the tab for instead of everyone suggesting water rebates.