Petitioners want warmer water in Oak Harbor swimming pool

Approximately 147 signatures were gathered in a petition seeking to raise the temperature of the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool.

The petition was presented to the North Whidbey Park and Recreation board of commissioners meeting Thursday, Oct. 18 by Noela Graham.

Graham has been swimming at the pool since 1982.

During her many years of attendance, Graham the pool often felt colder after maintenance, but this time it was different.

She began investigating the average temperatures for certain types of activities. For competitive swimming, the average temperature is 78-80 degrees, swim lessons for preschool children are 88-94 degrees, and the multipurpose pools are usually between 84-86 degrees, according to the United States Water Fitness Association.

John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool falls under the multi-purpose category.

More than a hundred people signed the petition to raise the pool to 83 degrees.

The petition was left on a bleacher by the entrance to the pool so people could sign it as they wished, Graham said.

The collection of signatures ranges from moms who bring their children to swim, to the older community.

Currently, the pool is hand tested four times a day, and the temperature is consistently at 82 degrees, said Bill Walker, North Whidbey Park and Recreation director.

By raising the pool one degree, Graham said, more people would be comfortable.

“There has to be an average temperature where everyone can be accommodated, and maybe that temperature is 83 degrees,” Graham said.

Graham said the children who attend swim school get cold and shiver in the water.

Sondra Keith said she is one of the “old ladies” who uses the pool for her exercise.

Another community member, Tom Johnson, bought two thermometers and donated them to the pool so data can be gathered and used to make a decision.

“There is no historical computer data and this will provide that,” Johnson said.

By using the thermometers to track the temperature of the pool for three months, Johnson said, they will be able to tell how accurate the controls are for setting the temperature, and if the temperatures fluctuate over long periods of time.

Parks Board Commissioner Allan McDougall said 82 degrees can be a little cool if you are standing around a lot, but as a master swimmer he is not comfortable at 83 degrees.

Graham said one of her friends who has been coming to the pool for as long as she has told her he might have to stop swimming because the water is too cold for him.

Steve Hoffmire told Graham he didn’t want her to feel discouraged with the process.

The board voted unanimously to revisit the issue once three months of data have been collected to make an informed decision.


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