The grand opening of the Rimbey Aquatic Centre was truly a grand event, complete with dignitaries, the traditional red ribbon, a delicious cake, and most importantly, lots of children running about in a cool and delightful splash park.
Eleven-year-old Emily Levesque from Rimbey said she loves the pool and has visited the facility almost every day since it opened.
“It’s a really nice to place to just come and relax and swim,” she said.
Ten-year-old Carson White agreed.
“It’s just really, really fun. I like the waterslide cause you can stop and then go really fast on it and I also like the deep end.”
Ten-year-old Tia Hopper from Bluffton also likes the waterslide.
“We come almost every day,” she said. “And I’m going to take swimming lessons here.”
The event, held July 10, was the culmination of a plan for an aquatic centre originated by the former council and brought to fruition, with the financial support of federal, county, local service groups and the community, by the present council.
“It (the aquatic centre) truly is an asset to the town ad we’re pleased it has been so well received,” said Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson. “And we’re grateful for all the financial support.”
Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins was delighted to come to Rimbey and be part of the celebrations, even though he was dressed in jeans, which seemed too hot for the blistering summer day. He referred to the aquatic centre as “a premier outdoor swimming pool, which is perfect for Rimbey as everyone plays hockey in the winter.
“I know because I play hockey in Lacombe and we come here and always get beat,” he said, jokingly.
Ponoka County Coun. Paul McLauchlin said the county was pleased to be part of such a successful project. “Forty per cent of users are Ponoka County residents.”
His own children were disappointed because he left them at home for the occasion.
“Working with this town is one of the most rewarding things for Ponoka County and you should all be proud,” he said.
Lions Club representative Steffen Olsen stressed how shared values has allowed the community to partner together to make the pool a reality.
“We recognize the dedicated efforts of the previous town council and the continued dedicated efforts of the current town council. We also applaud the assistance of the County of Ponoka and other government agencies for their continued support, grants and cooperation.”
Olsen and Lions president Laverne Oberhammer recognized several service groups, businesses and individuals who supported the Lions in their fundraising efforts for the aquatic centre. His final presentation was an $81,129.19 cheque to the town to go toward the aquatic centre.
Rimbey resident Grace den Engelsen admits she never learned how to swim, but she was busy at the pool opening taking pictures.
“My grandchildren live in Leslieville,” she said. “I want them to see this beautiful facility so they can come here and enjoy it.”
The $3.2 million aquatic centre received $1 million from the federal government through the RinC grant, $1 million also came from Ponoka County. The town borrowed $1 million for the project, and the remainder of the funding came from fundraising and through budgeted dollars.