In May 2015, Northern Development received an application from the District of Vanderhoof to its Economic Diversification Infrastructure program to assist with the costs of the $12 million dollar project. Less than two months after receiving the application, the Trust’s Board of Directors approved $250,000 for the significant project.
“The new pool is incredible! It’s really changed our town for the better and I can’t wait to see its long-term benefits for our area,” said Mayor Gerry Thiessen, from the District of Vanderhoof. “Over the recent years, the District of Vanderhoof has been investing in developing more community amenities to make our town a more desirable place for people to live and grow, and the pool is another piece of that puzzle. The pool is an amenity that provides people of all ages, from the youngest to oldest Vanderhoof residents, a place to be active regardless of the weather outside. We’re grateful to all those who have invested alongside us in these facilities, including Northern Development, to bring these projects to fruition.”
The donor wall in the aquatic centre demonstrates the vast amount of support that the facility received.
Since opening to the public in January 2019, an average of 3,700 people visited the pool each month to reap the benefits of this new facility. The centre features a six-lane 25-metre lap pool with diving blocks (enabling Vanderhoof to host local level swim meets and attract swim clubs from across B.C.), 1,500 square-foot leisure pool, 35 person hot tub, climbing wall, sauna, lazy river and water spray features, ensuring there is ample space for all preferences. Combined, the pools hold 953,923 litres of water and have enough space for 441 people.
“We’ve contracted the YMCA of Northern B.C. to operate the pool, which allows us to use their expertise and responsiveness to ensure the facility is being used to best of its capacity by those living in Vanderhoof and the surrounding areas,” continued Mayor Thiessen. “Last year they started an aquafit program with classes twice a week. The community’s response to this new opportunity was so strong that they had to increase it to seven classes a week and 30 pool memberships were sold. We’re thrilled that residents are using this new resource to add a variety of healthy habits to their lifestyles and spend time with other community members.”
Inside the Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre.
In November 2019, the Vanderhoof Aquatic Centre held the north’s first-of-its-kind “Glow in the Dark” swim night which featured glow sticks and reduced facility lighting. More than 300 patrons participated in this unique experience. Swim lessons have also proved popular during their soft launch in the fall of 2019 with more than 100 pre-school and youth receiving swimming and water safety training.
The building of this new facility also led to the establishment of the Nechako Valley Swim Club Otters. This provides a new opportunity for young swimmers in the Vanderhoof area to improve their skills and compete against others in a new sport. In their first year, five Otters earned a spot at provincial competitions.
“Few summer swim clubs have had such successful first seasons as the Otters did,” said the Nechako Valley Swim Club in a statement. “The Otters’ provincial results are especially impressive since the southern-region swim clubs are located in higher population areas and have many more members and coaches than clubs in the Cariboo region.”
Funding for this $12 million facility came from the Trust’s Economic Diversification Infrastructure grant program. This funding program provides up to $250,000 to support major infrastructure projects that strengthen the local economy and result in public multi-use facilities or capital investments that provide a long-term asset for communities in Northern B.C.