A change in fees for the Dunes Pool has recently been announced. A lot of people are very unhappy about this. I admit I was shocked myself at first, until I had time to consider a few things.

When the Oller Fund was put in place, it paid for all swims (for about a year) for any Peninsula resident (only requiring proof of residency). After that, the swims had to be reduced to eight times per swimmer per month, so as not to impact the Oller Fund’s principal, enabling the fund to continue in perpetuity.

For about a year after that, memberships equated to $20 per month, which is a pittance when you could be in the pool up to six days every week, depending on the type of water activity that interested you.

Many of those who are unhappy with this change were beneficiaries of both the free and very low-cost swims.

Beginning on March 1, you can still get your eight free-to-you swims a month (a boon to those who live on the Peninsula but could not afford to come at all if they had to pay). Although quarterly memberships will no longer be offered, punch cards can be purchased to supplement your Oller Fund swims. Punch cards cost $45 for 10 swims for youths and seniors (3-17 and 62-plus), and $60 for 10 swims for adults ages 18-61). Children age 2 and under swim free.

At the Dunes Pool, water aerobics classes are offered at 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, which I teach; arthritis water exercise classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday at 10 a.m., which Andrea Mack teaches. The pool is a comfortable 87 degrees. Other swim activities include lap, open, adult, and senior. Swim times have been expanded. Swimming lessons will hopefully be available soon. You can go to the Dunes Pool's Facebook page for notifications and links to swim times.

Alternatively, you can sign up for the Oller Fund at the Astoria Aquatics Center for your eight free swims. However, if you want to be in the water more frequently, monthly passes cost $60 per month for adults, $50 for youths and seniors (63-plus). Although more overall swim times/days are offered in Astoria, water aerobics classes are only offered on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (Oller Fund swims can be used) and are held in the lap pool, which is 82 degrees! Brrr! They also have a lazy river pool, a kiddie pool, and a hot tub.

Unless you live in llwaco, Chinook or Naselle, it takes more time, gas, and wear and tear on your vehicle to go to Astoria.

If I didn’t teach the water exercise classes and, therefore, have free access to the pool, I would pay for, and be OK with, the rate change. That would be the right choice for me. I hope this letter provides you with information that will help you make the choice that is right for you!

I thank the Dunes Bible Camp for opening their pool to the public, and hope they continue to do so.

CHERIE DUNWOODY

Long Beach

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