Hopes of saving the Marion Aquatics Pool remain afloat, with $12,560 raised only five days into a fundraising effort.
"That's five days!" the fundraiser's head Greg Dionne enthusiastically noted. "That shows me how much these residents and the people of Prince Albert appreciate the pool and the work that the sisters do."
The Sisters of the Presentation of Mary have operated the pool for the past 35 years, during which time over one million people have dipped their toes into the pool.
Although the pool has operated in the financial red in the past, the sisters have always been able to foot the bill.
That was, until the pool was forced to close their doors in early February as a result of Prince Albert's boil water order, with the cryptosporidium microorganisms detected in treated water able to survive chlorine treatments.
Facing about $30,000 in debt as a result of the closure that is expected to remain in place until the end of March, the sisters feared the pool's doors would have to remain shut.
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"We still have quite a ways to go, but after the first week we're feeling pretty good," Dionne said, noting that the goal is to raise the sisters' entire $30,000 funding shortfall.
Throughout Sunday and Monday, Prince Albert's Original Joe's Restaurant and Bar will pledge $7 toward the fundraising effort for every sandwich sold.
"He got a copy of the paper and phoned me, and that's how it started," Dionne said of the restaurant's owner Trevor Rowden, who learned to swim in the Marion Aquatics Pool.
On Saturday, March 27, River Park Memorial Chapel will host a pizza lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at a cost of $10 a person. Those wanting to attend should call 764-2727.
With donations pouring in, Dionne said that previous plans to form a fundraising committee might no longer be necessary, though he's thankful for an overwhelmingly positive response that could easily result in a full board, if needed.
We still have quite a ways to go, but after the first week we're feeling pretty good. - Fundraiser head Greg Dionne
So far in the fundraising effort, most donations have come from individuals with personal connections to the pool.
The campaign's first major donation came from Northern Saskatchewan Tourism on behalf of residents north of the river, with a pledge of $5,000.
Donations can continue to be dropped off at the Gateway Mall's administration office and Fred Matheson's Men's Wear on Central Avenue, with cheques payable to Marion Aquatics Centre.
The Daily Herald will continue to update readers on this fundraising effort in every Saturday edition until the $30,000 goal is reached.