Sports Minister Updates On Aquatics Centre

November 27, 2012

The Aquatics Centre will be used by competitive swimmers and also become a major hub for community-based aquatic activities, Minister of Youth, Families and Sports Glenn Blakeney said today.

Minister Blakeney said: “Whilst I expect that competitive swimmers will welcome the opportunity to use this marvelous facility, it is very important to emphasize that it is not intended that it become exclusively the domain of elite athletes.

“In this regard, we envisage that the Aquatics Centre will become a major hub for community-based aquatic activities including recreational swimming for youth, seniors, schoolchildren and other members of our community.

Minister Blakeney continued: “Within the first year operation, the Aquatics Centre at the National Sports Centre will offer swim lessons, aquatic fitness classes, lap swimming, and rehabilitation services, introduce sport development and training modules for water polo, diving and synchronized swimming as well as offer support to Masters, Triathlon and competitive swimming. The pool will host events, meets, and parties and rent lane space to clubs so they can further develop and grow their membership base.

“We are planning to hold an official reception here at the Aquatics Centre in the very near future so that key stakeholders can see for themselves what a truly fantastic facility this is.”

Minister Blakeney’s full statement follows below:

Good Morning!

I am standing in the middle of this splendid aquatics facility, and as the Minister responsible for Sports it is indeed a moment of true pride and a sense of real accomplishment. Early next year when this Olympic-sized swimming pool is filled to capacity, it will hold nearly 900,000 gallons of water!

There are many persons in our community who no doubt will take advantage of this 50-meter pool. People such as Roy-Allan Burch, who competed in the 50 meter freestyle during the London Summer Olympics; or Kiera Aiken, Julian Fletcher and Lisa Blackburn who have all set Bermuda national swimming records; or our many young Swimmers, such as the members of our Bermuda National Swim Team, whom brought home a staggering total of 12 medals from the 2012 Carifta Swimming Championships, held in the Bahamas during April of this year.

That swim team set an awesome 51 personal best times and one national record, and had among them, none other than Jesse Washington, who won a total of seven medals for Bermuda.

Whilst I expect that competitive swimmers will welcome the opportunity to use this marvelous facility, it is very important to emphasize that it is not intended that it become exclusively the domain of elite athletes. In this regard, we envisage that the Aquatics Centre will become a major hub for community-based aquatic activities including recreational swimming for youth, seniors, schoolchildren and other members of our community.

A deliberate effort will be made to integrate programming to accommodate a full range of aquatic uses. I am confident that in time we will see aquatic events like platform diving, water polo and synchronized swimming gain in popularity, so that we have increasing numbers of participants as well as spectators. Moreover, I am proud to boast that our most recent Olympic diver, Ms. Katura Horton-Perinchief currently serves as a member of our National Sports Centre ‘Board of Trustees.

So there’s no better time than Now to inspire a new generation of divers with Olympic aspirations and this ‘First Class’ facility forms part of the essential infrastructure to make that happen and yet another genuine example of Governments commitment to ensuring that the Best interests of Bermuda and indeed Bermudians are first and foremost.

The National Sports Centre’s aquatics programming goals will include a unique blend of aquatic skill acquisition and development, catering to novices and accomplished swimmers alike. The programming plan will be designed to stimulate and sustain interest in swimming and aquatics, whilst ensuring safety.

The focus will be on 2 major goals:

1. To provide an optimum blend of programming that provides for all aquatics needs of the Bermuda community. This will include various levels of programming ranging from “learn to swim”, fun recreational activities, and fitness programming, lap swimming, through to development and refinement of competitive aquatic skills.
2. To develop an integrated system that attracts users to the National Sports Centre. The Board will work diligently to develop relationships with aquatics clubs, rehabilitation service providers and others to nurture swimmers who will enjoy a fun safe swimming environment. Two additional key strategies will be to become an athlete feeder for clubs to foster growth and long term athlete development. Moreover, our National Sports Centre will further become an international aquatics training and competition destination.

Within the first year operation, the Aquatics Centre at the National Sports Centre will offer swim lessons, aquatic fitness classes, lap swimming, and rehabilitation services, introduce sport development and training modules for water polo, diving and synchronized swimming as well as offer support to Masters, Triathlon and competitive swimming. The pool will host events, meets, and parties and rent lane space to clubs so they can further develop and grow their membership base.

At this time I wish to take the opportunity to publicly thank and express my profound gratitude to the National Sports Centre Board of Trustees, especially its Chairman Mr. Sean Tucker, for a stellar job in managing the construction of this superb Aquatics Centre. I must also extend heartfelt thanks to the entire workforce who helped to construct this facility using superior craftsmanship. I am equally pleased to note that there has been a great balance of foreign expertise and highly skilled local tradespersons employed on this magnificent project.

We are planning to hold an official reception here at the Aquatics Centre in the very near future so that key stakeholders can see for themselves what a truly fantastic facility this is.

The Aquatics Centre forms part of our vision for continued expansion of the National Sports Centre in order to establish a comprehensive sports complex that will enable the staging of world-class sporting and entertainment events. Our long-term objective is to promote maximum use of the National Sports Centre through carefully planned sports and event programming. As such, we see the National Sports Centre as a jewel in our crown of sports infrastructure that will support Government’s goal of becoming a major Sport Tourism destination.

Thank you.

-

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  1. OBA: “Aquatics Centre Promise Not Been Met” | Bernews.com | November 29, 2012
  1. Triangle Drifter says:

    How many more grand announcements will be made before this facility is finally finished? How over budget & how many years is it overdue.

    Nothing to puff up the chest & be proud of here.

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    • Nitty Gritty says:

      and he had to read what he said word for word as if he was a junior politician covering for the Minister who was away in Mongolia at a table tennis conference.

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  2. Soooo says:

    During the period between dissolution and polling day, however, the Government should suspend any advertising campaigns and refrains from major policy decisions or announcements.

    This was known as ‘purdah’ but is now usually called the pre-election period.

    Funny how there is so much "activity" when there shouldn't be... .

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  3. Stop Complaining for 1 sec says:

    @ Triangle Drifter,
    At least under the PLP, 3/4 of Bermuda's National Stadium is or will be completed.

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    • Joonya says:

      Thats because they sure know how to borrow & spend, borrow & spend, borrow & spend...... dont they.

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    • Rick Rock says:

      It was supposed to be all completed by June 2012, for $15m. Now it's some time in 2013, for $19m+ (they aren't telling how much any more).

      And you're happy with it being less than 3/4 completed.

      Quite an election slogan...."If you vote PLP they will do a few of the things they promise for much more money than they said".

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  4. Zombie Apocalypse says:

    The original budget was $15m, and the completion date was June 2012.

    Let's see how late and over-budget it is.

    In November 2011 they started talking about completion in November 2012, at a cost of $19m.

    Now they give vague 'early next year' and no comment at all on cost. It's obvious why. Another insider has been made rich, no doubt.

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  5. Kim Smith says:

    @Sooo - you make a very good suggestion and one that I think might be worthy of pursuing.

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    • Soooooo says:

      @kim... There is much that shouldn't be going on, once government has been disolved things change and the Government becomes a caretaker; meaning they don't do anything except keep things ticking over. All ministers lose all "privilege" and revert tp private citizens.

      There are protocols that should be followed (none of which seen to be) wonder if government even knows what they "should do"... But rules have never meant anything to them!!

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  6. Your joking says:

    And can't wait to see the probably ridiculous price they charge clubs,people and events to use the pool....so it will probably sit empty most of they year......I hope not

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  7. No problem says:

    "Minister Blakeney said: “Whilst I expect that competitive swimmers will welcome the opportunity to use this marvelous facility, it is very important to emphasize that it is not intended that it become exclusively the domain of elite athletes."

    Oh yeah, like the running track right next door?

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    • Hey says:

      Everyone has been booted out of the running track...nightmare.

      When is the pool opening, I couldn't see it .

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      • Really?? says:

        You people are so daft. People train up the running track every evening. Obviously you two don't go there or you would see people training on both the south and north field and you wouldn't make such loud strong and wrong comments. Get your facts straight.

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        • Real Talk (original) says:

          Members of the general public are not permitted to train at the track, only individuals who I believe are registered with the BTFA.

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          • Really?? says:

            Ah, you are mistaken. The track is open to the general public from 12:00 to 1:30 during the day and from 7:00 to closing (Between 8:00 and 9:00) They ask that you respect the BTFA who train until 7:00. The problem was that members of the public got in the way of the athletes training. After 7:00 the track is free to use. If you want to train before 7:00 you can use the track going around the cricket field as many people do.

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  8. Stop Complaining for 1 sec says:

    @ Joonya
    So what do we make or sell? Most countries in the civilised world borrow money for projects.
    Duh.....................

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  9. Ringmaster says:

    On VSB TV tonight Minister Blakeney said it had been completed on budget at $20 million. No mention of the original estimate of $15 million. Sounds like the Minister wasn't been exactly truthful.

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    • Soooooo says:

      But it's not finished!,,,, the man is a fool...

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    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Is any better expected of him?

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    • Mad Dawg says:

      He's just lying. Complete lies. The original budget was $15m, and the completion date was June 2012.

      They can't even build a swimming pool without screwing it up and lying about it.

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  10. Really says:

    Another white elephant is built!

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  11. Opressed says:

    Okay, lets see, it's the end of November, this joker is standing in front of an empty pool, while some guy staggers around inside said empty pool, and the press confrence is for?????

    Oh, BTW, where exactly is the warm up pool that's used by athletes prior to an event in the main pool???

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  12. Spanky says:

    I wonder what the operational costs will be to run this pool year round. The Belco bill alone must in in the tens of thousands a month. I sure hope someone has done the math. And can someone answer this nagging rumor that this brand new pool does not have enough lanes to host an international event... Like the Cariffta Games?

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  13. Your joking says:

    http://bernews.com/2011/11/aquatic-centre-to-be-completed-in-2012
    Minister states will be done and under budget by September 2012...so we are already 3 months late and creeping to 20 mill....not the 18-19 mill stated last year

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  14. Please ask the Minister and the Trustees where are the bathrooms for $15-19M? For this price we get portable bathrooms?? Where is the warm up pool for competitive swimming? Where is the extra 2 lanes to be able to hold swimming competitions i.e. Carifta, Masters etc. etc.(They did not build a short soccer pitch or a 4 lane running track)

    Oh sorry this pool is for all to enjoy. (just cannot wait to see who uses this facility in the middle of winter in January - sure will not be the "all" the Minister is talking about.

    The dive stand was not featured in the initial build and then Katura was selected to be a National Sports Centre Trustee and then all of a sudden - wham the dive stand is being built???

    Both the Minister and the Trustees should be sacked for giving Bermuda such a crap Aquatics facility.

    Bermuda Swimming Association should build their own pool and leave the BNSC pool for a duck pond.

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  15. Stop Complaining for 1 sec says:

    @ Standing Wrong for Bermudians
    You are joking right.
    Where are the bathrooms? Shouldnt you be asking the UBP that. Wasnt it the UBP who built the Airport with NO and i mean NO bathrooms.
    Wasnt it the UBP that built the first phase of the National Stadium without ANY changing rooms and i REPEAT NO changing rooms

    So its a craapy facility because they DIDNT go with the design supplied by the BSA.

    Its Christmas season, so please go fah lala lala

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    • argosy says:

      Here we go.....the UBP did it.

      Please, give it up! You guys are parrots....

      And by the way, what "airport" do you mean that "the UBP built"? Our "airport" was built by US taxpayers....if you mean our Air Terminal building....it has always had bathrooms. Perhaps it didn't have any in 1947....is that what you mean? When the UBP built it?

      Run on your own record - not the other guys!

      And....stop complaining. Have a nice day!

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    • So should not a new "gombey gumment" do better than what was done before?
      Maybe you have never had to use the portable toilets that was for the Track - holes in the floor and ceilings? And you think this is acceptable for International events.

      Try finding out what this disaster cost?

      Crap even Jamaica's sports centre was better than the NSC. Yes even they had a 10x50M pool to hold International events!!

      The BASA proposal was 3 pools(all Internationaly recognized and used Worldwide), toilets etc. all for $15M so who is screwing who? Yet again the Bermudian Public!!!!

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  16. Nitty Gritty says:

    At least I saw a guy with a hose in there looking like he was getting a start on filling her up. You extrapolate how long to completion from dat dere.

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  17. Small fry says:

    Dont see any Bermudian construction workers there. All designed, project managed and built by foreigners. Good job PLP! Does not comply with FINA standards because they would not listen to BASA who recommended Myrtha pools http://www.myrthapools.com/ which would have saved millions of tax payers money and complied with Int'l standards.... Can't be used for CARIFTA GAMES or any other international swim or dive competition...I guess waterpolo & diving will be added to school curriculum along with football, netball, cricket, basketball, softball, field hockey, cross country, track & field, swimming, cycling, sailing, triathlon, golf, tennis, roller hockey, squash, rugby, badminton...did I miss anything?

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    • @small fry - you must be involved with swimming. I think anyone who knows swimming knows that this pool can only be used for training and low level short course competitions. It can be used for long course competition but nothing above club level. The simple fact that a swim judge can not walk along the whole side of one pool creates a problem.
      Also - Im not sure what Bermuda tourism knows about sports tourism and swimming/diving sports tourism but what I know is that all Colleges/High schools want to train Long-course. Most colleges also travel with their divers who will need to train at similar times as their swimmers. What is Bermuda going to provide for them that the International Hall of Fame in Florida can't. The hall of fame has three pools and one of them has a separate diving well so that all athletes can train at the same time without any deliberation on space. Our athletes will only be able to train Short course meters while the divers use the other end. I have spent whole seasons swimming in indoor pools with deep diving wells and I know how COLD it gets. Wont be very pleasant to be a diver in the winter.
      Despite the problems and the budget overrun it is a step in the right direction. A small step which may be more problematic down the road through mis-management. It will help the SWIM training of the Bermuda athletes but there is much more to swimming than just having a 50m pool.

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