Splash Island in Portage la Prairie has started its preparation work for opening soon. Portage Regional Recreation Authority Recreation Manager Zapphira Neuschwander says any outdoor pool becomes messy over the winter, with leaves, dirt, and more debris. She explains the steps they're taking to open things up.

"Staff spend a lot of time cleaning that out, turning it into the space that you'd actually want to swim in. They started earlier this week to get it ready for first week of June. They'll spend most of May turning that place around and making it ready for everyone."

She says water must remain in the pool over winter and snow will accumulate on top of that, so there's lots to clean out. Neuschwander notes ratio levels of chemical is the biggest point of focus when preparing the water for swimming. 

islandSplash Island

"Levels would be slightly different between commercial and public pools. But you'd probably be using a lot of the basics. I don't have a personal pool, so I'm not the expert, but I'd imagine it's pretty similar. It takes a whole month to get this ready; not like all day, every day. But there are certain things that we have to do well in advance. For example, it needs to be clean so that we can fill it, because filling that size pool takes several days of 24/7 filling. Then you have to bring your water up to temperature and then you have to balance the water quality. It's not all month, and all day, everyday work, but it has to be started this early so that it can be ready for June."

She says June 3 is their planned start date for opening. Neuschwander says Splash Island was first opened 22 years ago. 

"We are sticking mostly with the schedule that works this year. We are just putting out our June calendar, so everything is pretty much normal there. We have mostly school field trips during the day Monday through Friday, and then some evening and weekend public swim. July and August are really when we ramp up with the public swim offerings and the programming. Our lesson schedule should be out soon and then our public swim schedule. We are making a couple changes but nothing huge. We go until the first weekend in September, and then you winterize it, and you do it all again next year."

Neuschwander adds they're always working on new features.

"If anybody's been by and seeing people working, they've been sandblasting the water slide tower. So, that got a brand-new fresh coat of paint before we open this year."

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