Hotel Pools Open To Public – New management at Harrison Hot Springs Resort has launched an initiative to reopen the public mineral pool. (Contributed photo/Harrison Tourism)
Scott Mawhinney, general manager of the New Harrison Hot Springs Resort, said the resort is launching a number of initiatives to address the public pool’s main problem — finding enough certified lifeguards.
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The public swimming pool has been closed since the first days of the pandemic, and during the summer the closure causes increasing concern for both residents and tourists. Back in mid-May, Harrison Tourism announced that the public pool would be open on weekends starting May 21 with the option to extend the hours back to weekdays. It was announced on June 17 that the pool would remain closed due to challenges in hiring certified lifeguards.
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Members of the public met with Brad Wyss, Mission-Matsquay-Fraser Canyon MP, in Harrison. While Vis made it clear that he could not necessarily answer provincial or municipal issues, the issue of the mineral pool dominated much of the conversation. Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelly Paddon has also been involved in a number of discussions about the public pool.
Residents believed the permanent closure was a violation of a conditional water permit, which belongs to the resort’s parent company, Saliance Global Holdings, until at least 2037. Part of the permit states that “the flow of water shall be available to the public at all times from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day, at a point to which the public has a right of free access or to which the licensee granted free public access.”
Even if the license is transferred to the village, Sts’ailes First Nation or another company, it will not solve the issue of insufficient lifeguards.
During the Aug. 8 town council meeting, Harrison Mayor Leo Fazio touted a number of water features across B.C. and even the county struggles to find and retain lifeguards, specifically citing the Boston Bar and facilities run by the Fraser Valley Regional District as examples.
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“As we all know, it’s on the news every night – the lifeguard shortage not only here, but in Vancouver and other areas in the province…and Canada,” Fazio said. “We can’t run a pool without the safety of lifeguards.”
Mavhinney told the Observer that the resort had “tremendous problems” finding qualified people to fit the position. However, this may not be the case for much longer.
Mavhinney said Harrison Watersports closes on Labor Day and that human resources told him the resort would likely hire three lifeguards. Regardless, they hired a lifeguard from Chilliwack who has two sisters interested in training. He said the resort is looking for at least four lifeguards.
As a way to prevent shortages now and in the future, the resort is partnering with a Toronto-based agency that recruits maids and other hospitality workers from abroad. The resort has several houses around the town to accommodate lifeguards and other workers in case they need local accommodation.
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Mavhinney said he will open the resort’s pools to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and welcome 25 local residents to the pools.
“The only reason I cut it off until Tuesday and Wednesday is because the hotel is full,” Mavhinney said. “If you came this afternoon you wouldn’t be able to swim in any of the pools, there are so many people.”
Although the pool and hotel are now full, the past two years have been devastating especially for the tourist boards. Mavhinney said the hospitality industry has been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 and the resulting lack of travel.
“A lot of people get fired, and when they get fired, they don’t come back,” he said. “They’ll go to retail stores, they’ll go to real estate offices.” Some of them, if they are creative enough, have their own home business. So we are in great competition.”
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“I really don’t think we’ll have this problem next summer because I’ll have solid lifeguards,” he told the Observer. “Once the first person is in, the second person will be easier, the third person will be easier, and we will continue to do this as long as we are allowed to hire rescuers abroad.” Issa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer. of Montreal’s eclectic Park Ec neighborhood. She is a contributing editor to a Canadian arts magazine and freelances full-time for a wide range of magazines and brands. She is also a jewelry designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.
There’s nothing like a morning dive to get your travel day off to a good start. Take a dip at these 25 Montreal hotels where the pools are something to write home about.
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal’s indoor saltwater pool overlooks the city from the Golden Mile rooftop, where you can order snacks and drinks on the terrace. Another cool fact: it heats with renewed energy. Step outside into the hot tub or Swedish sauna! Courtyard Marriott Montreal Downtown’s indoor saltwater rooftop pool opens as early as 5 a.m., meaning you can enjoy the sunrise through floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows. Nice way to wake up! Within the landscaped courtyard, the 15-metre saltwater pool at the InterContinental Montreal is a great place to take a dip before a session in the dry sauna.
With an indoor and outdoor pool, Hotel Universel Montreal in downtown Montreal has everything to please – especially the kids! There are few pools bigger than the indoor and outdoor pools at the Bonaventure Montreal Hotel, where you can snorkel indoors any time of year and swim to the large outdoor pool, even when it’s snowing. In summer, the large roof deck is a great place to relax.
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Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth’s recent redesign hasn’t forgotten the pool: float on your back and enjoy the beautiful wooden ceilings, in keeping with the cool use of natural materials throughout the hotel. Relax on a lounger after a day or meetings in the Hyatt Regency Montreal’s indoor pool – its unusual geometric shape gives it a resort-like atmosphere, flooded with natural daylight. The cool tetris shape of the indoor heated pool at the Sheraton Montreal Center means you can chat and paddle at the edge of the pool at the same time someone is doing laps. The segmented indoor pool at Le Westin Montreal is one of the hotel’s coolest architectural features—not to mention the glass-bottomed segment that floats above the grand entrance! Don’t worry: there are two more sections to choose from if you’re shy.
With a pool that’s open from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., the indoor heated pool at the Holiday Inn Montreal Downtown is sure to provide fun for the whole family at any time. Plus there’s a whirlpool! Order a Cobb salad from the poolside menu at the Omni Mont-Royal Hotel while your kids eat burgers. This seasonal sunny oasis on the third floor of the hotel has a lifeguard on duty during pool hours – although children require adult supervision at all times. The heated indoor pool and sun terrace at L’Appartement-Hotel in downtown Montreal is just one of the hotel’s kid-friendly services: they also offer babysitting. Can anyone tell about the evening?
The indoor rooftop pool at Le Square Phillips Hotel & Suites may only be two lanes wide, but that’s all you need to load it up and enjoy the breathtaking views of downtown. Take a moment to soak up the rays on the sun deck. The perfect square footage of the indoor pool at the Marriott Residence Inn Montreal Westmount is just the right size for a rejuvenating swim. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the heated outdoor pool on the second floor of Le St-Martin Particulier Downtown – what it lacks in width, it makes up for in being cute, heated and open all year round! Follow up with a workout in the well-equipped gym at the Montreal Marriott Chateau Champlain and take a dip in the small indoor pool next door. The view from the splash pool and hot tub at the AC Montreal Downtown by Marriott is breathtaking, especially when the sun comes up. Wash off a day of meetings with a dip in the stylish plunge pool at Ramada Plaza Montreal.
In Montreal’s Renaissance Centre, the stainless steel rooftop pool is only open in the summer months, when a dip is just what you need after a hot day of exploring. The beautiful wooden deck around the heated rooftop pool at Le Cantlie Suites makes it the perfect place to enjoy the summer. And did you see that look? Hotel Ruby Foo’s has a heated outdoor pool which is open in the summer months and has a lifeguard on duty at all times. After working out in Espresso Montreal Downtown’s fitness room, head outside for a dip in the sweet pool during the summer months. Relax on a sun lounger in the summer heat before taking a dip in the enchanting turquoise pool
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