The fate of the Four Seasons Leisure Pool in Prince George will be up for discussion at tomorrow’s (Monday) City Council meeting.

Council will be weighing two options: to shut the pool down permanently and plan for demolition, or to continue maintaining it for future limited reopenings after restrictions are lifted.

However, swim lessons, new downtown pool recommendations and pool closures need to be taken into account before a decision is made, says a report to Council.

Last March, both the Aquatic Centre and Four Seasons Pool were shut down due to COVID-19 — this included swim lessons, lifeguarding and aquafit programs.

The Aquatic Centre reopened with a reduced schedule in September, however, the Four Seasons remains closed.

“Residents have been patient with the reduced pool services however there is a growing desire for programs to resume,” said director of Community Services Adam Davey.

Demand for the pool remains high, with 35 weekly swim blocks available right now, with each block booking about two to six weeks in advance.

To alleviate some pressure, limited swimming lessons are planned to resume in May at the Aquatic Centre, with restrictions in mind.

The report also says the Aquatic Centre is faced with several planned closures, which could leave Prince George with no public pool for lengthy periods of time if the Four Seasons is closed.

The Centre is closed five weeks every year for repairs and maintenance, a gap traditionally filled by the Four Seasons.

It will also host competitive swimming for the 2022 BC Summer Games in July, one month before the new pool opens.

If the pool closes for good, locals will not be able to swim during the games.

Finding qualified lifeguards could also become an issue — about 55 new hires will be needed for the new pool, making for a total of 100 employees.

The Aquatic Division has provided all leadership training in house up until this point, but most leadership courses were canceled and are only now starting up again.

“The correlation between current staffing levels (one pool with limited operations) and staffing levels to operate the new pool in concert with PGAC (full operations) is important as the longer operations remain scaled down the more difficult it is to scale up again,” said Davy.

PG lifeguards and instructors are primarily high school and university students and it takes an average of one year for applicants to be qualified for an entry-level position at the pool.

Keeping this in mind, Prince George says the new pool might have to reduce its programs for the first six months of operation.

“Simply put, if FSLP were to be permanently shut, aquatics programming and user-groups will experience a significant reduction in services for most of 2020, 2021 and 2022,” reads the report.

If the building were to be decommissioned, it could mean saving between $150,000 to $200,000.

It is currently costing Council about $459,000 to keep the building maintained in its idle state.

Keeping the pool idle still carries costs, according to the report, so if Council votes to close the pool, then they should also vote to tear down the building right away.

This would eliminate roof repair cost, and other maintence.

If Council votes to swing the wrecking ball, a staff report will be brought back outlining demolition costs and timeline.