Fredericton — University of New Brunswick president Eddy Campbell announced Wednesday that the Sir Max Aitken Pool will be decommissioned in the fall of 2018, after nearly 100 years of supplying a community space for water sports.
“While we’re decommissioning the entire Lady Beaverbook Gym, we recognize that the aquatics programs are vital here at UNB. That’s why we’re simply relocating those — for free, might I add — to the St. John River,” said Campbell, who explained that the YMCA and the City of Fredericton have offered no solutions to the university’s funding problem.
“Trust me when I say we’ve investigated all other options. But this is fine, because our swim team actually has no problem with practising in the river. Once the ice has melted, of course.”
UNB swim team captain Brian LaForge said he thinks practising in the river will give his team an edge during competitions. “Think about it — the current is strong, so you have to be in wicked shape just to stay afloat, let alone move against the water. We’re gonna be ripped. Yeah, it’s cold, but no pain no gain, right?”
Some parents have expressed displeasure, however.
“I walked down by the river last summer, just across from the library, and there was broken glass all along the shoreline,” said Marlene LaForge, Brian’s mother. “I don’t know when the last time my boy had a tetanus shot was… but I swear there were used needles in the mud. And the water is so dirty it’s basically opaque. Luckily we have great health insurance, but still.
“It’s disgusting, and not only that, how will they pracise in the winter?”
Campbell responded by saying the university has invested in wetsuits that students or anyone who would normally have used the pool can rent for a nominal fee during winter.
“When the ice is really thick, we’ll be out there cutting holes in it — it’ll be like the ‘polar dip’ thing people do, but with laps and drills. You’ll see. This is gonna work.”