In the heart of Crofton, there’s a little piece of paradise where young and old alike can enjoy some summer fun in the sun.
The continued existence of outdoor pools is a rarity, but the Crofton Pool opened in 1971 at 1668 Robert Street and has operated continuously ever since. There are still long-time residents who don’t even realize it’s there and newcomers to town are pleasantly surprised when they discover it.
The pool is only open two months each year and tucked away in a private location so that might explain how people tend to forget it’s there for the enjoyment of the community. It opened June 28 this year and closes already slightly more than three weeks from now on Aug. 25.
Rayanna Stace-Smith has literally gone full length with the pool from a young girl growing up in Crofton to her current status as Outdoor Aquatic Coordinator for North Cowichan that includes jurisdiction over the Crofton Pool.
Now going on 28, Stace-Smith’s life has revolved around the pool since the age of five.
“I’ve been swimming here since I can remember,” she said. “As I got older, me and my best friend were swimming almost every day here in the summer.”
Stace-Smith is always amazed how a segment of the Crofton population is unaware of the pool.
“That’s so crazy to me,” she conceded. “It’s such a gem here.
“I think it’s so valuable we have it here. It’s so relied on by the community.”
Kids living nearby take full advantage of the site and it only costs $1 for admission, with accompanying adults paying just $2.
“It’s a place where the kids feel like it’s theirs,” noted Stace-Smith.
People love it and even the bigger kids, like two 16-year-olds that Stace-Smith knows, still go to the pool all the time. A great deal of time has lapsed, but Stace-Smith enjoys seeing the other side of the pool, so to speak, as a lifeguard.
“This is the kind of place where the kids love the lifeguards and you build that kind of relationship,” she said.
Stace-Smith works at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre in Duncan the rest of the year. She’s a fully-certified lifeguard and also conducts water safety and life-saving instruction.
Larissa Grymaloski, 18, a graduate of Frances Kelsey Secondary in Mill Bay, is in her second year as a lifeguard at the pool.
“The kids are great and it’s nice to know the local kids that come in every day,” she said.
Adam Gazsity, 17, is going into Grade 12 at Frances Kelsey and is loving his summer job at the Crofton Pool. “It’s great,” he enthused.
The Crofton Pool is a 20-yard, four-lane heated pool complete with a small diving board for those so inclined to use it and features accessible change rooms and showers.
There’s also a lounging area where parents or grandparents can read a book and catch some shade under an umbrella while watching the kids frolic in the pool.
Each year, swim lessons, length swimming, aquafit classes and fun swims for kids and youths are offered.