After years of trying to stay afloat, a recent push from the public and private sectors will keep the O’Regan’s Subaru Outdoor Swimming Pool open in the Town of Bridgewater.
A recent announcement revealed that a total of $115,000 had been invested into the community pool with help from the town, the province and local businesses.
The funds helped to repair cracks in the pool, interior renovations and covered the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roof.
For his part, Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell said the funding has answered a question the community has had for years.
“This basically puts (the pool) on solid financial footing,” he said poolside, adding that stakeholders had stepped up to the plate.
When asked about the installation of photovoltaic panels in relation to the town’s Energize Bridgewater plan, Mitchell said the future of government projects lies in marrying cost management and environmental responsibility.
“I think we have to go there whether it’s private residences or government facilities at all levels of the government,” he said.
“We need to figure out ways to save money and also treat the environment with respect.”
Mitchell added the pool was the first system in town to use photovoltaics to produce energy but he hoped more projects would follow suit; the system is estimated to generate the equivalent of 22,000 AA batteries worth of energy every day.
But the pool upgrades wouldn’t have been possible without businesses.
Tim O’Regan, who represents O’Regan Subaru in Bridgewater, said the announcement is proof of what can be achieved when the public and private sectors work together.
He said O’Regan Subaru partnered with the United Way of Lunenburg County and the Bridgewater Barracudas Swim Team a number of years ago to keep the pool afloat until funding could be found.
However, said O’Regan, investments into community recreation should be an easy decision for governments.
“These kinds of facilities are very important to recreation because recreation shouldn’t be seen as a cost, it should be seen as what’s the cost if we don’t have it,” he said.
Lunenburg West MLA Mark Furey was also present at the announcement, noting the pool as a place of recreation and learning for kids.
As the president of the Bridgewater Barracudas Swim Team, Cheryl Fougere said the renovations secured the pool for another generation of children.
“I think it’s very exciting news,” she said. “We feel there’s a future for the swim team and that this outdoor facility will be here for years to come.”
At this time, 95 children — ranging in age from five to 18-years old — have signed up for the team.
And the pool will be subject to a flurry of activity later in the summer, as some 500 athletes will be competing for provincial championships at the facility Aug. 16-18.
When asked about her team, Fougere said the Barracudas had won eight championships in a row but were gunning for another.
“We’re hoping to keep the streak alive,” she said with a laugh.
The provincial government contributed roughly $38,000 to the project.