The Toonie swim used to be a staple of Cochrane summers at the old Cochrane Swimming Pool. But, after the opening of the new pool at the Spray Lakes Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) the Toonie swim had become a thing of the past.
Brandon Cruze is actively trying to bring the Toonie swim back.
"I wrote a letter to town council and the mayor and I got a reply back from Mayor Jeff with the commitment to go to the board and bring up the Toonie swim. It's something that we could bring back and I thought that was really good so you know hopefully they will bring it back and I remove some of that red tape and you know allow individuals and I'm not looking for them to change the entire pricing structure you know, just once a week, they could call like a Toonie Tuesday or something like that."
The red tape Cruze is referring to is how access to the SLSFSC is priced for those who may just want to use the pool, with the individual drop in price at the SLSFSC being priced at $15, and the family price being set at $25 with no option to just use one specific part of the facility.
"The pricing structure, and I understand wholly that it's intent is for everybody to use the whole facility. Again, if you know these individuals want to go down and just swim, you know that $15 just might not be affordable. We got a lot of people that use a free food shed, that are on assistance and are using our food banks. How do we start, looking at ways to be able to bring that service delivery to those individuals in the community that want to get out, and right now it's summertime too so we got a lot of kids out of school, and you know, for those families that can't afford it, it would just help bring them in." Says Cruze.
Cruze also says that Cochrane can look to other communities family swimming initiatives.
"I follow a number of municipalities around Alberta, BC and across Canada actually there's other posts from other communities that are doing that. I know Kelowna, for instance, their family swim is $5 for the family, and we charge $25, but that extra 20 bucks, that goes a long way into buying more, whether it's bread, milk or, snacks for the kid's things like that. If we can, you know, help them out with that by just offering a simple $2.00 swim again. I think it's something that we should be doing."
Not only does Cruze believe that the Toonie swims will benefit the wider community, he also believes that it could be financially beneficial to the SLSFSC as well.
"If we can have that Toonie swim, chances are on the one day a week that we offer that, we're probably actually likely to make more on that single day than we would be if we were to be offering the current fee structures."
Lastly Cruze hopes that the community gets behind his initiative to see a return of the Toonie Swims.
"I just hope that the community is on board and like I said, if the community can rally behind all of us as a whole and you know right into council and say hey listen, you know this is something that we want to see, and you know hopefully we can bring the Toonie swim back."