Beltline and Inglewood pools in Calgary to shut down January 2020
City says age and condition of Beltline facility isn't up to snuff, despite recent renovation
The City of Calgary says the Beltline Aquatic and Fitness Centre and the Inglewood Aquatic Centre will shut down on Jan. 1, 2020.
"The age and condition of this facility no longer meet current service level expectations and changing citizen preferences have resulted in limited and declining participation," statements on both recreation centres' websites read, as of Monday.
The city said until January, there will be no changes to hours of operations or programs at either facility.
Both pools were on the chopping block as part of $60 million in cuts at city hall.
The Beltline facility just underwent a major renovation in October 2018, with updated change rooms and gymnasium.
Closures leave local groups in the lurch
An online petition calling for both inner-city pools to be saved had gathered close to 1,000 signatures Monday.
Local swim club the Aquabelles has been running programs at the Inglewood pool for 30 years.
"It was like getting a little punch to the gut," Jenn Battista, the group's coordinator said, when she received the call from the city.
Karen Hurley, the programs manager for Special Olympics Calgary, says the Inglewood pool's closure will leave a novice swim team of about 60 athletes without a place to train and possibly be the end of the program.
She's been searching for another pool that fits the group's needs — a small space, with available peak hour swim times that's accessible by transit — to no avail.
"So all of our athletes have intellectual disabilities. So it's also trying to explain to them why they won't have this program. Some will understand, some won't. So that's another big job for me, trying to get them all to understand the reasoning why," she said. "I'm quite disappointed."
Beltline's pool opened in 1954 and Inglewood's in 1963.
The closures will leave the city with 12 indoor pools.
With a file from Terri Trembath