Water World swim programs end, new school on site in question

Some swimming programs will be discontinued at Water World in downtown Windsor and the construction of a new Catholic Central high school has yet to be approved for the site.

Ministry of Education has yet to approve new Catholic Central high school at Windsor Arena, Water World site

City staff recommended that all aquatic activities at Windsor Water World be discontinued. (City of Windsor)

Some swimming programs will be discontinued at Water World in downtown Windsor.

Council voted in favour of discontinuing the preschool and public swims due to low attendance.

Since the new downtown aquatic centre opened, attendance for public swims at Water World dropped from about 65 to 19 participants each session. Only three people are now participating at the average preschool swim.

"Those activities are not very well attended at this time. So we're recommending that we not do those. We're not recommending that we drain the pools or anything like, that would preclude a final decision," said Jan Wilson, the executive director of recreation.

Concerned residents spoke at council to speak against the decision Monday night at council.

Paula Flack is a citizen who uses the pool with her son. She blamed the low attendance on the city's handling of the situation. She accused the city of making people feel Water World was closed immediately after the new centre opened.

"They posted the closing, everybody thinks it's closed," she claimed. "I'm thoroughly disgusted. I'm disappointed. I can't believe that they would do that."

Coun. Alan Halberstadt said there should be a way to keep Water World fully functioning.

Other activities at World World, including fitness and after-school programs, would continue.

"Maybe we could subsidize this pool until we know at least what the school board is going to do with this facility," he said.

The Windsor Essex Catholic District School wants to build a new Catholic Central High school on the site of Windsor Arena and perhaps use the pool and community centre as part of the school.

The city offered the Windsor Arena site and surrounding properties to the school board for $1.

Water World is included in the package but the social housing units located near the water park will not be touched. As part of the deal, Water World will have to be maintained as a community centre but the school board has said Water World can become a "field house" for the new school.

The Ministry of Education has to approve the school board's plan.

"We have not been advised of any approval to date, nor do we have any indication of when an approval may be forthcoming," the board's executive superintendent of corporate services, Mario Iatonna, wrote in an email to CBC News.

The ministry has started announcing school approvals across the province, including three in the Upper Grand District School Board where Education Minister Liz Sandals is a former school board member.


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