Aquatic Centre Closed Due to Vandalism
October 29, 2022
The Fernie Aquatic Centre will be closed to the public for the next 5-7 days after extensive vandalism to the facility overnight.
The vandals accessed the facility roof sometime late on Friday October 28, or early in the morning on Saturday October 29 and broke numerous exterior windows. Glass from the shattered windows was scattered across the pool deck and into the main pool.
City Staff have spent the morning boarding windows, assessing damage, cleaning glass off the pool deck, and beginning the extensive process required to drain and clean the pool before it can be safely reopened for use by the public. Staff will completely drain the main pool and perform a thorough clean before refilling. This process typically takes 5-7 days before the pool returns to the appropriate temperature and balance for use.
The Aquatic Centre was closed to the public this weekend for a private swim meet hosted by the Elk Valley Dolphins. The swim meet has been relocated to Western Financial Place in Cranbrook, where the more than 400 participants and spectators from the Kootenays, Alberta, and Montana have been able to continue the competition.
City Recreation staff have notified programming participants and those with private bookings affected by the required facility closure over the next week. We will be providing an update early next week on the expected closure length.
The RCMP is investigating this incident and anyone who has any information is asked to call the local department. The non-emergency number for the Elk Valley RCMP Fernie Detachment is 250-423-4404.
“We will be looking at options for installing security cameras outside the facility as a way of mitigating the vandalism and inappropriate behavior that we are seeing after hours around the Aquatics property” explains Brett Logan, the City’s Director of Parks, Facilities, and Recreation “The amount of incidents we are seeing is concerning and the significant damage is impacting our programming and costing taxpayers money."
This is not the first incident of this nature at the Aquatic Centre. In October 2019, there were two separate occasions where vandals broke windows using rocks, resulting in pool closures and canceled programming. Previous to those incidents, vandals lit a fire outside the Aquatic Center lobby doors resulting in damage to the exterior of the building.