Skip to main content

Ripple effects of water crisis: No swimming, working at pools; no rides on Heritage Park steam engine


The June 5 feeder main break and resulting water restrictions have paused operations at swimming pools across Calgary, and that has some employees on hold without pay.

Shannon Sutherland posted on social media about a family member who had her summer job with the city postponed due to the water restrictions.

Sutherland says her family member was set to work at the paddling pools to earn money for university and is now scrambling for a summer job.

"Did the training, ready to go and then found out all the shifts were on hold, so now she's scrambling to find work," Sutherland said.

"Some of them are just going to get scooped up and offered employment elsewhere. You have to make money and you only have a few months to do it."

A City of Calgary spokesperson said recreation facilities remain open while water-based amenities are closed.

"Staff are still providing customer service, maintaining building operations and running non-water-based programming as planned. Staff will resume water-based activities when pools reopen," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also said "staffing resources are adjusted between different facilities based on seasonality, customer demands and other business aspects such as facility closures."

Dive Calgary has had to put water training on hold for 46 athletes between six and 24 years old, including 10 expected to compete soon.

"Especially those athletes who are preparing for junior world trials, they're quite impacted by what's happening," said Ashley Glessing, general manager and junior development coach at Dive Calgary.

Some parents are paying to have their kids train elsewhere for the coming days.

A few swimmers are allowed in the pools at MNP Centre because they're preparing to head to the Olympics in Paris next month.

MNP Centre posted on Instagram, explaining, "Due to ongoing water restrictions, our showers and pools will remain closed for the time being. However, you may notice six athletes in the water. These athletes have been granted special permission to train as they prepare for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris next month, as well as other international competitions."

Riley Harper with the Calgary Outdoor Swimming Pool Association (COSPA) says all eight COSPA pools are closed due to the city's water restrictions.

"We have had to cancel day camps, school group bookings and over 200 lessons. These delays also dramatically affect the lifeguards and swim instructors who really run these pools and facilitate safe and fun experiences for all Calgarians," Harper told CTV News Tuesday via email.

"I do want to note how the City of Calgary and its recreation partners have come together in wonderful and creative ways to support each other. We eagerly look forward to the moment we can provide memorable experiences to Calgarians."

Harper notes the COSPA pools have long served Calgarians.

"My grandparents took my parents, my parents took me and now, as a first-time father, I am excited to take my daughter. So, I would encourage everyone to support these pools by visiting them when they are able to open," he said.

At the University of Calgary, swimming lessons don't start until July and have not yet been affected. 

More than 11,000 are enrolled in summer camps, and the U of C says it's ready.

"Summer camps are on! For upcoming summer camps/programs that have a swimming component, we are arranging fun alternative activities in the event we are unable to use the pool," a spokesperson said.

"For pool-specific camps/programs, we will explore opportunities while still complying with the water restrictions."

Steam is no longer puffing from the locomotive engine at Heritage Park.

The historical village said it decided to park the train due to the amount of water it requires.

"It's a lot. It's somewhere in the range of 2,000 to 2,500 gallons of water used each day in one of the two steam trains," said Dominic Terry, communications manager at Heritage Park.

"The city is asking regular citizens to limit water usage, so we decided that would be the right thing for us to do as well."

The park has also curtailed watering flowers and gardens, and its 14 food venues are not letting dishes pre-soak and cramming dishwashers before using them. Top Stories

These Picassos prompted a gender war at an Australian gallery. Now the curator says she painted them

They were billed as artworks by Pablo Picasso, paintings so valuable that an Australian art museum’s decision to display them in an exhibition restricted to women visitors provoked a gender discrimination lawsuit. The paintings again prompted international headlines when the gallery re-hung them in a women’s restroom to sidestep a legal ruling that said men could not be barred from viewing them.

Stay Connected