Sauðárkrókur Splashes into the Future with New Pool Expansion

The public pool in Sauðárkrókur

The town of Sauðárkrókur in North Iceland is enhancing its public pool with a new recreational area, including an 11-metre-high water slide and additional facilities. The project is a significant investment expected to become a place of leisure and recreation for both children and adults.

A cornerstone of community life

In Iceland, swimming pools are more than just a place for leisure or exercise. They are a cornerstone of community life, deeply woven into the fabric of Icelandic culture.

Read More: Pooling Together (A Deep Dive into Iceland’s Swimming Culture)

This being the case, residents of the town of Sauðárkrókur in North Iceland are understandably excited about the construction of a new recreational area next to the town’s swimming pool, which, at 70 years old, bears the mark of time. 

The forthcoming recreational area will enhance the current facilities — which currently comprise an outdoor pool, two hot tubs, and a plastic vat for soaking in cold water — with several water slides, including a notable 11-metre-high slide. Work on the expansion began in January of 2021.

Listen to Our Podcast: Listen to Iceland Review’s Podcast on Swimming Pool Culture in Iceland

“This recreational area is designed for both children and adults, serving as a kind of comfort zone. Our plans include constructing an 11-metre-high slide tower, complemented by approximately three to four water slides. Additionally, we will introduce a pool for swimming instruction, massage tubs, and a cold tub, alongside the current pool and tubs. It represents a substantial expansion of our facilities,” Ingvar Páll Ingvarsson, project manager with the Municipality of Skagafjörður, stated in an interview with Vísir yesterday.

“I believe it will be magnificent. Once the tower is up, it will be a major landmark,” Ingvar Páll added. 

At a considerable cost

The mayor is equally excited: “We’ve been waiting a long time for this, and as you can see, it’s just a splendid project that we look forward to inaugurating,” Sigfús Ingi Sigfússon, Mayor of Skagafjörður, told Vísir.

When asked about the total cost of the project, Sigfús Ingi admitted that the renovations came at a considerable cost: “Yes, the cost is considerable. In total, from start to finish, including a complete overhaul of the old swimming pool and building, around ISK 1.4 billion [$10.2 million/€9.3 million],” Sigfús Ingi stated.

The mayor hopes that the residents and visitors of the area won’t have to wait much longer for the new swimming pool area to open, although he does not want to specify any month or date in this regard.

Plans for the new recreational area at the public pool in Sauðárkrókur

Road and Coastal Administration Work All Night to Prevent Route One from Flooding

Employees of the Road and Coastal Administration worked through the night to ensure that rising water levels in the Djúpadalsá river Skagafjörður, North Iceland would not flood Route One (the Ring Road). RÚV reports that breakwaters along a five-kilometre stretch of the road have been damaged. Skagafjörður has received a great deal of rain in recent days and all the rivers in the area are rising.

Road and Coastal workers used bulldozers to try and reinforce breakwaters that were at risk due to rising waters and contain the Djúpadalsá river. Route One also needed fortification, said Stefán Öxndal Reynisson, an inspector with the Road and Coastal Administration in Sauðárkrókur.

“These breakwaters are really damaged for probably close to five kilometres and the only channel leading into the Djúpadalsá river is now just overflowing with stuff after we’d gotten it in pretty good shape when we dredged it for three or four years.”

The extent of the damage has yet to be determined, but it’s estimated that it will cost tens of millions of krónur to rebuild the breakwaters that have been destroyed.

Screenshot, RÚV

Unusual for many rivers to flood at once

Stefán says that usually, only one river floods at once. “But it was just all the rivers yesterday evening and overnight. It didn’t help that the Héraðsvötn river was also full and there was a bit of a bottleneck into the Djúpadalsá river as well.”

There’s still a great deal of water in the rivers, all of which are churning dark and muddy. It’s expected that the Road and Coastal Administration will need to spend a great deal of time reshaping the channel of the Djúpadalsá river so that it will be able to accommodate the next flood. But for now, the sole focus is on keeping the river under control until conditions improve.

“It’s a little colder now, so I’m hopeful that the water level in the river will go down so that we can see what we’ve really got to do here,” said Stefán.