New pool, repaired sports dome for East Hants to be up and running this summer

People who live in the Municipality of East Hants are going to have to wait a little bit longer before they’ll be able to use the new pool in their area. The same can be said for the damaged sports dome at the East Hants Sportsplex.

The original plan for the pool to open was in the fall of 2019. That was then pushed back to March 16 of this year. But COVID-19 scuttled those plans.

Good news came last week.

“We were surprised and thrilled to hear on Friday when it was announced that public pools can begin the reopening process,” said Jody MacArthur, a spokesperson for the Municipality of East Hants. “We’ve been busy since then and within the next couple of weeks we are hoping to have our new aquatics centre up and running.”

The municipality put up more than two-thirds of the cost for the $19-million East Hants Aquatic Centre. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The East Hants Aquatic Centre didn’t come cheap. The municipality put up more than two-thirds of the cost of the $19-million project. The federal government contributed $5.8 million.

The fully accessible facility has six 25-metre swimming lanes, a slide and a 20-person hot tub, plus shallow areas for kids. It also features a climbing wall that comes up out of the water and an outdoor splash park. The new pool replaces the old municipal pool located in Milford.

“What we have to do now is bring back some of our aquatic staff to figure out what programming we can do this summer, due to all the public health regulations that are in place right now,” said MacArthur. “We are hoping to open the outdoor splash park even sooner than the aquatic centre itself, so on these hot days we can have families come and enjoy the natural environment outside.”

An outdoor splash zone will open before the rest of the facilities at the East Hants Aquatic Centre. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

A few kilometres away in the community of Lantz, the sports dome is being repaired at the East Hants Sportsplex.

The material in the dome was ripped when an early winter storm in November dumped a load of wet snow on the roof, causing it to tear. Work that was supposed to take place this spring was delayed due to COVID-19.

“The dome is now having some air put in it to help promote getting the fabric pulled back so they can get in there to do the repairs,” said Scott Forward, the sportsplex’s general manager.

The sports dome at the East Hants Sportsplex in Lantz is being inflated this week in order for repair work to begin. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The dome is heavily used by soccer leagues and many other sports organizations who rent it.

Built in 2009, it’s been damaged on three occasions, twice by snow and once by wind.

The thought of building a permanent fieldhouse structure is not being considered.

“Right now I think it’s a monetary thing,” said Forward. “The funding for something like that would be significant compared to what we have.”

Forward says the dome should be reinflated by the end of this week and the repairs to the inside will then begin.

Much of the interior damage was to the facility’s lighting system.

The dome should be back up and running by late summer.

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