SOOKE HISTORY: Sooke’s swimming pool opened in 2000

Frances Sullivan (right) helps little Lisa Campbell and Louise Paterson cut the ribbon to officially open SEAPARC pool in 2000. (Sooke Region Museum)

Elida Peers | Contributed

The old and the young are shown cutting the ribbon together, such a fitting illustration of the usage that would take place at Sooke’s new pool, opened Oct. 29, 2000.

Frances Sullivan, eldest daughter of Sheringham Point’s first lighthouse keeper, Eustace Arden, is wielding the scissors, together with little Lisa Campbell.

Louise Paterson, chair of Sooke Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission, oversaw the ribbon cutting for the spanking new state of the art facility, heralding the celebration of an accomplishment that residents had looked forward to for many years. When the ice arena was built in 1975, on land contributed by Sooke Community Association, it marked the first taxpayer-funded public sports facility in Sooke, and now a pool, 25 years later.

RELATED: SEAPARC fitness expansion still on track

The arena meant an end to the early morning trips taken by parents to the Juan de Fuca Arena in Colwood so their kids could play hockey.

Again, the building of the pool meant an end to the Sooke kids going to Colwood as well, as the Sooke Athletic Association rented the Juan de Fuca Pool on Sunday evenings so our Sooke kids could get swimming instruction. We supplied our own teachers.

The firm awarded the $4.4-million pool construction job in 2000 was Kinetic Construction. SEAPARC manager Larry Hutchings’ job went from ice to include water, with this expanded recreation facility.

The Sooke Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission at that time consisted of Marcus Farmer, Jim Perkins, Bruce Comaniuk, Debbie Quayum, Dwight Johnston, Janet Evans, Ken Pungente, Ed MacGregor, Brian Henson, and Ted Davies, chaired by Louise Paterson, with Dwight Johnston serving as chair of the pool committee.

With the new expansion plans in place for the SEAPARC Leisure Complex today, perhaps it’s good to glance back to acknowledge the excitement of the initial ice arena in 1975 and the pool opening in 2000.

One of the pool project’s biggest supporters was Margot Swinburnson, president of the group called SPLASH, who said: “It gives me great satisfaction every time I use the pool, to see it being used by all ages, and see our youth have great jobs and skill training because of the programs there.”

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Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.

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