The Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre
On November 25, 2003, the Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre opened its doors. It was a momentous occasion for the region and all who worked hard to bring the dream to life.
The Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre (FRAC) features a 5-lane, 25m lap pool and a 150-foot waterslide as well as a pool deck where the grand opening ceremony took place.
The aquatic centre is conveniently located at Northwestern Polytechnic, Fairview Campus, just off Hwy. 2. It’s easily accessed from the Fairview Community Centre, where various other amenities and services can be found.
Move Up interviewed the Town of Fairview’s Director of Community Services Caroline Cleave and Chief Administration Officer Daryl Greenhill as well as Aquatics Manager Megan Schur.
How did the aquatic centre come to be?
Cleave: The community built a collective vision designed to enhance our community. A feasibility study was performed, and financial forecasts were researched and drafted.
In the beginning, we started very small, running the facility with only a few full-time staff and a handful of part-time junior staff. It was truly exciting to host swimming lessons indoors rather than in the outdoor pool, especially because it was sometimes actually snowing.
What did you learn from being part of this process?
Cleave: We learned quite quickly that recreation facilities compete with private and public facilities for guests. We learned to put a lot of thought into how we bring people through the doors. As well, we learned to take into account how all parts of the facility operate, so we could ensure a great visitor experience. These have been the key to achieving success.
How have the facility and operations changed?
Greenhill: The challenges of recruiting staff are ongoing. Across Canada there are many lifeguard shortages. Pools were sidelined due to COVID-19. This presented challenges for being able to offer courses and gain new staff. As well, many of our former lifeguards decided to switch jobs during this time because of the ongoing uncertainty.
We are looking forward to rebuilding swim safety in our community. These life safety skills help create a community that is proficient around water. We have to be creative and be innovative in how we attract and retain customers. Our goal is always to provide a great visitor experience.
From your experience, how does the aquatic centre impact the community?
Schur: The community has a sincere appreciation for the centre, and we receive a great deal of support from our members. We have regular clients who we see on a daily or weekly basis, which indicates we are fulfilling a need.
The facility plays an important role in contributing to the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and the community as a whole.
What has been a highlight for you over the past year?
Schur: I have relished watching my staff interact with members of the public. I am incredibly proud they truly consider themselves water-safety educators rather than “pool police.”
We’ve also been really pleased to witness how much draw we have when we do combined events with the pool and the community centre theatre. We were blown away by attendance numbers when we put on a couple events for families that featured a swim and a movie.
What makes you excited about the future of the aquatic centre?
Cleave: Parks and Recreation facilities are incredibly important for healthy and vibrant communities. The Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre provides opportunities for residents to be active and interact with others. The social bonds people create at this facility have strong benefits. This facility continues to ensure users have a variety of recreational programs to meet their needs.
Schur: We’ve brought in training and progression plans for existing staff to ensure we have a well-trained and collaborative team. I hope during the next year we will be able to offer expanded swimming lessons and value-added programming such as aquatic fitness. I also aspire for our team members to dream up and implement their own unique programs based on the needs they identify in the community.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Cleave: The Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre is a safe, fun, family facility that’s open all year long.
We offer a range of programming from aqua fit to swimming lessons to lifeguard training. We are proud to be affiliated with the Lifesaving Society, Canada’s Lifeguarding Experts.
The Fairview Regional Aquatic Centre is really for people of all ages. As well as being fun, swimming is a great way to keep fit and make friends.
Article by Nathan and Chelsey Friedt, Lemon Social | Photography submitted