By Rhonda Massad
The much anticipated $5.4 million Valleycrest pool officially opened its doors on July 4. The new 25-metre, eight-lane pool and a 5,600 sq.ft. chalet replaced the original six-lane pool that was built in 1974.
The original pool was founded by longtime Pierrefonds residents Andy Quinn, Gord Wells and Brian Hammond who made it to the opening celebrations.
According to Quinn, the land for the pool was donated for $1 by developer Mario Grilli, who saw the potential in the project.
“Since most of the homes in the area were being built by Grilli at the time,” Quinn told The Suburban during the celebrations, “he felt it would be an asset to the community. As long as we did all the work and got the financing, he would grant us the land. We aimed for a six lane pool which at that time would cost $100,000.”
Gord Wells added that the first pool lasted 40 years.
“It did well because it held the community together and gave us a sense of belonging. People gathered here, the ladies ran country fairs, bake sales and anything we could think of to raise money. We are still living here in our original homes,” Wells said.
Brian Hammond who was in charge of membership in 1974, confirmed that the membership cost in 1974 was $300 and they had a target of 150 members. Today the pool does not have a membership fee for free swim. But does charge for lessons and other programs.
It was Steve Sideris, most recent past president, who was the catalyst to this new project.
“This wouldn’t have happened without the original vision of our founders. Our goal was to have a new pool for the upcoming generations. Ultimately it was for the kids,” Sideris said, “would rather see a child in organized sports than organized crime. Keep the kids involved give them somewhere to go and we are proof positive that they give back to their community in the long run. We have lifeguards that have come back with their children after all these years. They grew up here and have fond memories, so they bring their families here. The continuity in the community is important.”
Current Valleycrest Aquatic Association president Laura Derry confirmed that there are 220 families signed up for the activities and programs provided by the association.
“I am very happy with the results of the project,” Derry explained, “we have a swim team of more than 150 kids, the pool is beautiful and the kids are enjoying it.”