The newly resurfaced Bruce II pool slowly refills after receiving the anti-slip treatment. The pool reopened on Sept. 5 to a day of free public swims, also courtesy of SafeGard.
©J. R. Roy / Special to The Gulf News
A simple conversation last year resulted in a major upgrade for the Bruce II Sports Centre this summer, particularly in the pool area.
Ontario resident Garry Beach, owner and inventor of SafeGard, has been visiting Newfoundland for over 25 years and last summer he happened to pass through Port aux Basques.
“Someone asked what I did,” said Beach about a simple dinner conversation that initially triggered his decision to donate over $100,000 worth of time and product to the popular sports facility.
Beach is a chemical engineer who invented a slip-resistant treatment for ceramic, porcelain and enamel, which he eventually turned into an international business operating as SafeGard. At one point SafeGard had over 100 employees throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. He has since sold the American division.
“I still maintain the Canadian operation on a selective basis,” said Beach. “When I want to do something I do it.”
According to Beach’s wife, Carole, usually that something is a donation, often to a facility that is regularly accessed by children, such as the Bruce II.
“It’s important for the athletes and the children,” says Carole about her husband’s reasons for donating his safety treatment.
The company has proved popular with sports facilities around the world, applying their product to most Canadian universities including Dalhousie and McGill, and even Olympic facilities. Its anti-slip treatment is typically found in hospitals, schools, restaurants, naval ships, military bases and major league sports venues.
Originally from New Glasgow and now residing in Oshawa, Beach still loves to visit the east coast regularly and has worked with many facilities in the province, including a St. John’s area hospital.
After his chat with a local who suggested he contact the Bruce II, Garry sent some information about the company, which eventually landed on Robyn Noseworthy’s desk. Noseworthy is the recreation director and facilities manager of the Bruce II.
“He said that he was willing to offer us a charitable donation towards the pool treatment of anti-slip protection on our ceramic tiles,” Noseworthy said.
After doing some research on the company, including a thorough check of references from previous facilities to which SafeGard had chosen for donation, Noseworthy picked up the phone and reached out to Garry.
“He decided he was going to come in and do this donation for us, which was really great,” says Noseworthy, who was thrilled to have the Port aux Basques facility selected.
The treatment itself is not topical and will not wear off, says Noseworthy, who is having all of the replacement tiles treated as well. And the treatment also extends beyond the pool floor and the pool deck.
Although the treatment comes with a 10-year warranty, in its 32 years of operation SafeGard has never had to honour a warranty simply because the product is so reliable.
“It’s gone through our main lobby in the pool area. It’s also gone through our change rooms,” says Noseworthy. “Our guard office, our guard change rooms, the entrances and our hot tub. So we’ve got our full aquatic side of the building completely anti-slip treated through SafeGard.”
In addition to donating the extensive treatment SafeGard also covered the cost of the five public swims for the pool’s reopening on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Noseworthy hopes the improved safety features of the pool will draw more swimmers.
“Hopefully they’ll see a great difference in it,” she said. “I know that I have.”
In anticipation of the sterilization and anti-slip treatment application, the Bruce II even opened the pool for a dog swim, a popular practice in larger centres prior to a cleaning. As part of the treatment process the pool tiles have been thoroughly scrubbed and some of the prior staining has been removed, giving the pool a brighter, cleaner look.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome of the work that has been done and we’re very appreciative of and so grateful for the offer that he has given us,” Noseworthy said.