Discussions on National Aquatic Centre
11 September 2020
Plans are afoot for the construction of a professional standardized aquatic pool on the island.
Recently, a delegation from the Saint Lucia Aquatics Federation (SLAF) met with newly appointed Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Caroline Eugene and other ministry personnel to discuss matters related to the development of Aquatics in Saint Lucia including the establishment of a national centre.
SFAF President Eddie Hazell led the delegation which also included 1st Vice President Paula James, and former national swimmer Julien Brice.
“We needed to meet with her and her team because we are moving into a new era with the National Aquatic Centre. We need to expand and grow, and for us to do that and host international competitions we need to have a 50 metre pool. There must be space because we are hosting competitions of a particular standard and numbers. There is no way the present facility can host these numbers," Paula James asserted.
She stressed that hosting events like the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Swimming championships requires additional seating.
“When we talk about competition and moving to the next level, CARIFTA for example which we bid for and got accepted for 2021, we need to have a facility in place. That is key for us and we are pleading with the government to appreciate where we are and where we want to take the Aquatics Federation," said James.
Director of Sports Patrick Mathurin who was part of the Ministry's delegation described the meeting as very successful and emphasised that the National Aquatics Centre will belong to the people of Saint Lucia.
“It will belong to them in terms of the usage of it, so the expectation is that persons coming to use the facility will not just be competitive swimmers. We expect that the Centre will make money and be self-sustainable. It should not be dependent on the revenues of government and will be able to move forward and host international events," Mathurin disclosed.
Brice is the Regional Manager, Sales and Technical, Caribbean Division for Myrtha Pools, a company engaged in the procurement of the pool to be installed at the Centre.
“The pool was already being manufactured earlier this year. Obviously with the Covid things have been put on hold. This meeting was just to kick things off again and establish where we were with a design and what will be the next steps,” Brice noted. “We were able to sit down and discuss a facility that will work for everyone so it’s going to host international competitions and bring necessary exposure for local swimmers, generate revenue, create jobs as well as being a fun environment for people around the island. It's designed to give Saint Lucia exposure in Aquatics."
Photo: Participants from the meeting involving the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports and the Saint Lucia Aquatics Federation.