Thunder Bay pool advocates want long-term plans

City councillors have asked for options on what to do with Thunder Bay’s outdoor pools.

Residents say a multi-year plan for the Heath Pool is needed

City councillors have requested a report from administration on options for Thunder Bay’s three outdoor pools.    

Councillors agreed Monday night on the importance of Dease, Widnall and Heath Park pools, and the role they play in recreation.

But some, like Councillor Rebecca Johnson, didn't agree with limiting recommendations in the report to only replacing the facilities or how to better maintain them.

"We really have to sit down and [ask], ‘are we going to have pools?’ Because we can keep band-aiding them for the next couple of years … but, where are we going?  Do we want these pools in five to 10 years?”

The city will spend about $280,000 on fixing the Heath Pool this year.

Residents dive into debate

Syd Glemich and Bob Hupka from the Committee For the Future of Heath Park Pool address Thunder Bay city council. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Bob Hupka, who represents a group wanting to make sure Heath stays open, said a multi-year plan for the facility is needed.

"We don't want just a fixup,” he said. “We want long term viability of the pool, and the money spent now."

Another group member, Syd Glemich, said Heath pool is an integral part of many residents’ lives.

"Some of them go there 14 times a week — twice a day in the afternoon and in the evening,” he said. “This is what they do all summer."

The pool was built in the 1950s by volunteers as a response to children drowning in the nearby Kaministiquia River. Glemich said he was one of the kids who nearly drowned before the city-run pool was opened.

During its meeting Monday night, council talked a lot about what it wanted to see in the future report from staff on the city’s pools. The most expensive pool to fix and maintain is Dease, which needs at least $1 million in maintenance.

Administration will come back with options in about a month on how to repair, replace, or close the pools.

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