Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau may have performed a twisting, twirling descent from its heights when he visited the Stonetown, but the Lifesaving Society of Canada believes regular Canadians shouldn’t be allowed to do the same.
The iconic high diving board at the St. Marys Quarry has been deemed “a serious safety risk,” according to a report from Town of St. Marys Recreation Depart-ment staff, presented to Councillors at their Committee of the Whole meeting last night (Tuesday, June. 18).
As the report details, the high dive — retrofitted in recent years so it wasn’t quite as high as the original version, donated to the town around 1950 by the Lind family of St. Marys Cement fame — was closed to use during the summer of 2012 due to low water levels at the Quarry. In fact, the report states, the water levels were the lowest ever recorded during the facility’s official use for swimming.
At the time, Recreation Manager Stephanie Ische explained the High Dive would be closed out of concern that the distance from diving board to water was too extreme for safe use. She added a facility-wide safety audit would be conducted prior to the opening of the board for the 2013 season.
Tuesday’s staff report delivered the findings of that audit, conducted by the Lifesaving Society of Canada. The organization is described in the report as “Canada’s lifeguarding expert — a full-service provider of programs, products and services designed to prevent drowning (with a) mandate to prevent drowning and water-related injury through their training programs, Water Smart public education, aquatic safety management services, drowning research and lifesaving sport.”
The Society also “establishes aquatic safety standards and consults on aquatic safety issues for the aquatic industry, governments and the judiciary,” explains Ische’s June 18 report. “The Society offers a suite of services to help aquatic facility operators maintain and improve safe pool and waterfront operations. They perform aquatic safety audits and serve as experts in legal cases involving aquatic safety.”
The Lifesaving Society has completed its safety audit of the Quarry and made operational recommendations to facilitate safe operations.
Ische, meanwhile, made no permanent recommendations regarding changes at the Quarry, noting only that “there may be some expenses” associated with following through on the Lifesaving Society suggestions. And, “at this time nothing has been budgeted in the 2013 (Town of St. Marys) budget to make modifications to this site.”
But her report did stress that “the audit has indicated that the high dive element poses a serious safety risk and should be decommissioned as soon as possible. (And) based on the report at this time the high dive will be closed.”