New pool to be ready by autumn

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  • Work continues on the Bermuda Aquatic Centre at National Sports Centre. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

    Work continues on the Bermuda Aquatic Centre at National Sports Centre. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

  • Bernie Asbell - Aquatic Centre update (Photo by Mark Tatem)

    Bernie Asbell - Aquatic Centre update (Photo by Mark Tatem)

The long-awaited Aquatics Centre at the National Sports Centre, complete with 50-metre pool, diving pool and therapeutic facilities, should be up-and-running by the early autumn.

Sports Minister Glenn Blakeney said the multi-million dollar project, which has been in the pipeline for several years, would reflect the needs of the whole community, not just those of the Island’s elite athletes.

Blakeney was joined at yesterday’s press conference by chairman of the NSC trustees Sean Tucker and Canadian sports consultant Bernie Asbell, who will monitor the facility’s progress and advise on operational matters.

“Our vision for the Aquatic Centre, which will be the only 50 metre pool on the Island upon completion, is a community-centric facility that offers a range of aquatic opportunities, including swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming,” said Blakeney, who added that the pool would be capable of hosting international events.

“We envisage that the Aquatic Centre will be utilised by both elite athletes who are very serious about water-based sports, as well as recreational individuals who merely want to enjoy an afternoon in the pool.

“This will require a well-designed operational schedule that reflects the requirements of each type of activity.”

Tucker, chairman of the NSC trustees, said the new centre would eventually be brought under one umbrella along with the NSC’s other facilities, which include a track and field stadium, cricket field and artificial hockey pitch, currently being relaid.

“We want to ensure the Aquatics Centre continues in the same line as all aspects of the National Sports Centre, so this will be not only a facility which encourages high performance athletes and the community at large,” he said.

Tucker added that sports consultant Asbell would assist the Government and the trustees in drawing up a ‘masterplan’ to ensure the centre catered for recreational and competitive users of all ages.

“Operating a facility like this is no easy task so we decided to reach out to someone who had done it before.

“Bernie Asbell has assisted us in other facets of the development of the National Sports Centre; he has managed and run five internationally certified aquatic facilities,” said Tucker, who added that a plethora of full-time positions would be created once the facility was full operational. Asbell, who had helped develop similar-style centres in North America, the Caribbean and Australia, has this week gathered feedback from the Island’s sporting to help ensure their athletes also benefit from the pool.

“I’ve had the good fortune to work on (projects) at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and various other game, providing legacy counselling in terms how to maximise the usage of a facility after the end of an event,” said Asbell.

“This particular facility is about building community capacity within Bermuda. We will also be tapping into the knowledge and depth of the other organisations in Bermuda. This week I’ve met with quite a large number of stakeholders, BASA, the Bermuda Football Association and Bermuda Track and Field Association.

“All are very supportive of the new facility so they can help and train their athletes.”

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Published Feb 17, 2012 at 5:50 am (Updated Feb 17, 2012 at 5:49 am)

New pool to be ready by autumn

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