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SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Summerside’s Credit Union Place will start offering preschool Level 1 swimming lessons free of charge thanks to a new partnership with the Confederation Bridge.
The arrangement announced Monday is for five years and will gradually be expanded to make other pool programming more accessible. Further details will be announced at a later date.
Michel Le Chasseur, general manager of Strait Crossing Bridge Limited, said the company was interested when approached by the city to do some kind of partnership for community programming, but wanted to ensure whatever they ended up doing had a direct benefit to the community.
“We thought it was a great idea because it resonated with us and what we do,” said Le Chasseur.
“But at the same time, didn’t want a name on the building. What does that do? I mean it’s nice, it means something. But it doesn’t improve your life, necessarily. We wanted to participate in something that will improve, push, for people to learn how to swim.”
About 100 kids enroll in the preschool Level 1 swimming program annually. The partnership will ensure about 500 kids will learn to swim for free over the five years of the agreement. The program usually cost $94.50 per child and runs from Jan. 15 to March 12.
JP Desrosiers, director of Community Services for the City of Summerside, said his department is always on the look-out for new ways to get more people through the doors of Credit Union Place and corporate partnerships like this one is a great way to do that.
“This is just one example of our commitment to sport and recreation as a community. Our city invests a substantial amount of money on an annual basis in recreation, sport and health and wellness, and corporate partnerships allow us to do more than we already are,” he said.
Summerside’s new mayor Basil Stewart and Coun. Cory Snow, chairman of the community services and recreation committee, joined Le Chasseur in unveiling new Confederation Bridge-themed signage around the pool facility Monday to denote the partnership.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been edited to more accurately reflect the specific level of preschool swimming lessons that will be offered for free.