BGC South East offering lane and family swims this spring and summer

The pool at BGC South East’s West End Community Centre will be available for lane and family swims. Photo via BGC South East.

BGC South East (formerly Boys and Girls Club of Kingston & Area) will begin offering Lane and Family Swims in response to the request of users of the BGC West End Community Centre pool who have been affected by the City of Kingston’s cancellation of pool hours, according to the not-for-profit organization.

“Over the last two weeks, the Club has received an overwhelming number of requests from swimmers voicing concerns that City swim hours were reduced and the summer hours cancelled at the West End pool,” BGC South East said in a media release.

“After discussions with existing user groups, the Boys and Girls Club has determined that the available swim times were important to the community and with such a demand for aquatics in the City, the Club would do its part to support.”

BGC South East said it will be providing Lane and Family swims at the following times, effective Monday, May 13, 2024:

Spring Hours, from May 13 to June 28, 2024:

  • Monday to Thursday: 8 to 9 a.m.
  • Friday: 6 to 9 a.m. and 12 to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday: 12 to 3 p.m.

Summer Hours, from July 2 to August 23, 2024:

  • Monday to Friday: 6 to 9 a.m.
  • Monday: 4 to 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 4 to 7 p.m.

According to the release, the fees for the above swims will be paid through BGC South East’s registration system and users will register online. These swim times are not considered City Swims, so City of Kingston memberships are not valid.

Fees are:

  • $6.00 + HST for adults ages 13+
  • $3:00 for children ages 0-12

Any local businesses or individuals that are interested in supporting the BGC South East swim times are asked to contact Amanda Guarino at [email protected]. The Club estimates an additional expense of $20,000 annually to cover these new swims beyond the user fees.

Advance registration is required to swim and can be completed at www.bgcsoutheast.ca.

According to the release, the current pool times delivered by the City of Kingston, Seniors Association and Loyalist Township remain unchanged. Registration for times provided through these partners will continue to be managed directly by them.

In response to inquiries for details on which of the City’s swim hours have been reduced (which was the result of an aquatics-heavy agenda at the Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2024, meeting of Kingston City Council), the City of Kingston provided a statement from Tony Gargaro, Manager of Recreation Services for the City:

“We understand this change is a challenge for some and we’re sensitive to that. When we released the spring schedule, we needed to consider both customer needs and the City’s budget requirements. Swim lessons remain a priority in establishing this schedule. As part of the launch of the spring swim schedule and based on updates made to the purchase of service agreement rates with BGC South East (City of Kingston – City Council Agenda – Meeting 09-2024 – Report COU-24-098) changes have been made to the pool bookings.

“The new schedule ensures that the 300+ hours of swim lessons held there continue unimpacted. Staff have also prioritized scheduling both lane and drop-in swims based on historic attendance rates and high-demand timeslots. On Fridays and Saturdays, staff have added a new leisure swim in both the lane and leisure portions of the BGC pool. This is to accommodate and encourage increased use of the pool for all age groups but specifically the City’s Active Pass for Grades 5 & 9 students and Spark members. Another notable change in the City schedule is that summer swim times at BGC South East will be re-directed to the Culligan Water Park and Artillery Park. Both sites have capacity in the summer to accommodate the user volume of both the adult and leisure swims formerly booked with BGC South East. Staff worked with BGC South East when confirming the new schedule, and it is our hope that slots previously booked by the City will be taken up by other groups and agencies as an additional way for BGC to continue supporting expanded aquatic opportunities to the community. 

“It should be noted that the fall schedule will begin on Sept. 3 this year, as opposed to October. The Fall hours are expected to remain the same as the those outlined in the new Spring Schedule.  

“It should also be noted that the aquatics programs at BGC started with a total of 9 hours per week including lessons and the 2020 schedule featured 16.5 hours/week. The new schedule will offer 22 hours per week plus up to an additional 9 hours/week in lessons. 

Members have been granted access to Artillery Park Aquatic Centre and Culligan Water Park, an option to extend their membership by two months if they do not wish to access the city locations, or the cancellation of their membership with refund for time remaining.

Staff have also been successful in securing funding for the next two years from Step Into Swim to support the continuation of the Splash School Program in partnership with the Limestone District School board and St. Lawrence Pools. This collaboration allows for even more opportunities for youth in Kingston to learn crucial swimming skills while building confidence and having fun. As aquatics programming remains in high demand, this is an innovative way the City is partnering to create learning opportunities and reducing pressure on more traditional swim lessons.”

According to BGC South East, those with questions on registration with with the organization can contact Jeff Helsby, Supervisor of the BGC West End Community Centre, at [email protected], or 613-507-3306.

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