Saltwater pool at Whitby spa village closed by health department after complaints

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Published October 20, 2022 at 8:55 am

A spa village that opened after a long delay and much fanfare October 6 is already in a great deal of hot water after Durham Region health inspectors shut down its showcase Kalla saltwater pool after numerous complaints from the public.

The pool was inspected three times last week before the health department ordered it closed last Friday, declaring that the operators failed to ensure the pool – billed as the largest saltwater pool in North America was “free from every serious condition that may be a health hazard.”

Guests complained vociferously on social media about ear infections, skin infections, skin rashes, three day fevers, blisters, headaches and even inflamed lymph nodes after using the pool. Most also voiced their displeasure at not receiving any feedback from the spa or its owners, Groupe-Nordik of Gatineau, Quebec.

There were also a few patrons who had nothing but good things to say about their experience, calling it “amazing” and saying “1,000 % be back.”

Groupe-Nordik released a statement on the pool closure, saying they closed the Kalla pool on October 14 “for maintenance” after a “mechanical malfunction” and that the pool will remain closed “until we complete the re-opening procedure protocols.”

Martin Paquette, Groupe-Nordik’s owner and CEO, said when Durham Health informed his staff pseudomonas and staphyloccus bacteria was found in the pool they took “immediate action” by closing the pool and hiring a team of water experts to conduct a full investigation.

The decision was also made, he added, to close all the pools on the complex, despite the other pools being declared safe by the health department.

“Although all the other pools are safe we proactively made the decision to close them so we could effectively do a complete audit of the installations,” he said. “I have instructed my team to close all pools on site until I have the absolute confidence our water calibration system works perfectly for the entire site.”

Paquette also said he was “devastated” to hear some of his guests had contracted staph infections after exposure to the pool. “In twenty years … a situation like this has never occurred.”

Thermea spa village in Whitby, which can host 700 guests at a time, is the first venture in Ontario by Groupe Nordik, a pioneer in the Canadian wellness industry that has been introducing unique relaxation experiences since Nordik Spa-Nature in Chelsea, Quebec welcomed its first guests in 2005.

The spa village, located at 4015 Cochrane Street on the former Cullen Gardens, represents the largest spa investment in Canada.

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