Pool permits make a splash in Sarnia this summer

(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / viperagp)

Sarnia residents are eager to take a dip in their backyard but it may not happen until next year.

The City of Sarnia’s monthly permits report shows that seven swimming pool permits, worth a total of $344,500 in construction value, were issued in August.

The owner of Aqua Pools can attest to the increase in demand, stating they now typically get five to 10 quote requests for pools each week.

“I would say this is multiplied by 10-fold right now with COVID,” said Mark Grant. “People were stuck at home so everybody wants a pool … We were never anywhere as close to this busy before the pandemic.”

Grant said Aqua Pools is currently booking into the summer of 2023 and he suspects the demand for pools will stick around for a couple of years.

“We just get too many inquiries that we can’t keep up with them to book any farther in advance. [Potential customers] are going to have to wait until things slow down a little bit.”

Grant said Aqua Pools has tried to bring in more staff to help during this busy time but have had little luck.

“Unfortunately, the labour force around here isn’t really good for qualified labour,” he said “As soon as CERB (Canadian Emergency Response Benefit) is over, I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of people knocking on doors, looking for work.”

Aside from a long wait, customers will also notice a heftier price tag.

“The cost of materials has gone up dramatically. We have taken a 50 per cent increase in steel since last October, so that drove the price up pretty good, along with everyone else.”

Grant said getting products has also been difficult but they do their best to keep the store stocked.

“We’re doing our best here, but we are a little overwhelmed,” he chuckled.

In the month of July, eight swimming pool permits were issued for a construction value worth a total of $327,000. Whereas the total for the month of June was $363,622 with 10 permits issued.