Lesley Margetak, Leone Stacheruk and Kim Miskulin are the members of the Pass Pool Authority, which was appointed by the Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass to prepare and plan the budget, facilitate the budget after approval from the Municipality and oversee and make decisions on all other aspect of the operations of the Pass Community Pool, including staffing of the pool.
In 1998, the Pool board Authority became the Crowsnest Pass Community Swimming Pool Society. Sean Michalski was former President of the Society but left his position and the board after moving outside of the Municipality.
It was a system that “worked great,” according to Stacheruk, and perhaps this is why it came as a surprise when the Pool Society received a letter dated September 27th from the Municipality saying that “a decision was made to have the swimming pool day to day operations under the responsibility of the Community and Protective Services Department.
Prior to the letter, the Municipality was responsible for the preparation of the payroll, payment of invoices, maintenance and repairing assistance as requested by pool staff. The Municipality also assisted with interviewing and hiring of staff if requested, preparing and sending official communications from the Municipality and supplying current budget reports.
It was the intent of the Pool Manager to work in close cooperation with the Recreation Director and the Pass Pool Authority, supplying up to date information regarding the operation of the Pool and requesting assistance if necessary.
“It came as a huge shock, because they wanted to change the way the pool has been run for years,” said Lesley Margetak. “And we didn’t understand why.”
The letter that the Pool Society received explained that over the past number of weeks, it was been determined that members of the Crowsnest Pass Community Swimming Pool Society have had some involvement in the operations over this past season, however, because the municipality is moving to restructure the Culture and Recreation Board, and through this change, the Swimming Pool Society will no longer be required to have operational involvement.
“I wish to thank you the members of the Crowsnest Pass Community Swimming Pool Society for your hard work and effort and encourage you to apply for the Sport and Recreation Board,” said the letter, which was signed by Myron Thompson, Chief Administrative Officer of the Crowsnest Pass.
Prior to this letter, the Pool Society had heard no word of a change in roles in the responsibilities of the pool.
“It’s strange because we had a meeting with Council in May,” said Margetak. “The purpose of the meeting was to review the budget,” she explained. “I thought it was good thing that we were collaborating.” Little did they know that only four months later, they would be asked by the Municipality to step down from the roles in the society that they have kept for years.
“We were unaware that they made this decision. We went to council for support to a system that we thought worked very well.
“It’s upsetting because we act as mentors to the students,” said Miskulin. “We’re there to support them and build these youths as leaders. We hire students. We want these kids to get experience. We want to guide them and encourage them.”
A major concern to the Pool Society is that the Community and Protective Services Department may have more concerns about aesthetics, then aspects like the mechanics and maintenance of the pool.
Painting the pool office and renovating the change rooms were part of the audit.
“In my opinion, they are more concerned about how the pool looks than how the pool is operated,” they said.
“We feel that we have been the voice for the pool, and we have made some impact as far as keeping the pool going,” said Margetak. We look at the pool every year, we’ve had some projects that we feel were very successful. We have taken pride in the pool,” they said.
After receiving the letter from the Municipality, Now President of the Pool Society, Leone Stacheruk wrote a letter asking why the decision was made to drop the Society. No reply to the letter has been received.
They did however; receive a phone call from Thompson’s secretary asking if they wanted to be on the agenda at an upcoming Council meeting.
Although Headrick has been very positive of the facility as is, the group believes in the current system.
“It’s frustrating that (Council) doesn’t sit down and talk with us and see our insight on the pool,” said Miskulin.
“We just want some explanation.”
“I think they think we’ll just be quiet and go away.”
They have no plans on going away.
“We are not sure our elected representatives know what the implications of dissolving the Pool board would be, and we are not sure our administration is sharing with our elected representatives,” said Stacheruk.