Cost to fix, reopen Sherbrook Pool pegged at $6.2M
Consultations being recommended with public to decide if it's worth it
The cost to fix and reopen, then maintain, the Sherbrook Pool over the next 20 years is pegged at $6.2 million.
The City of Winnipeg released the figures on Friday, more than six months after the 81-year-old West End pool was shut down following an inspection.
Following that, the city brought in a third-party engineering firm to determine the structural integrity of the facility and the anticipated costs of any needed repairs or remediation.
The assessment involved opening up the columns around the pool to assess their condition.
The cost breakdown is estimated at $2.7 million to repair and reopen the facility and $3.5 million to maintain it during the next 20 years.
The city wants to know if it's worth it.
Administration is recommending "a consultation process be undertaken to determine the recreational needs of the Daniel McIntyre ward, including Sherbrook Pool and other facilities in that area."
A news release from the city notes that expenses for both maintenance and programming at the pool have increased significantly, going from $525,000 in 2002 to $753,000 in 2012.
Pool is needed in area, says councillor
Coun. Harvey Smith, who represents the neighbourhood, said regardless of the cost, the pool is needed in that area.
"You know, they've let this pool run down to where it requires all this work [but] I think the pool still can be saved," he said.
Among the residents and groups hoping the pool will reopen is an organization that had been offering a swimming program for Muslim women since 2009.
Ahlam Jasim of the Canadian Muslim Women's Institute said the pool's central location and lack of windows made it the perfect place for Muslim women who are new to Canada to socialize with each other, learn water safety and practise their English.
Dozens of women, who cannot swim in the presence of men, lost a special meeting and recreation space when the pool closed, Jasim said.
"It's good … not just for Muslim women, for all women. They want to have their privacy to swim and have fun," she said.
Marianne Cerilli of Friends of the Sherbrook Pool says she was surprised the city report did not give more than one option for the facility's future, but she believes that could work in the group's favour.
"So if the consultations are just, you know, 'Should we do this or not,' I think there's going to be a lot of support to fix the pool," she said.
"To me, [$2.7 million] for another 20 years of a pool in that neighbourhood is a good investment."
Cerilli said the community wants to save the pool, and there are a number of funding options the city could tap into to fix it.
Have outside group run pool, group suggests
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says it would like to see the city team up with a non-profit organization, like the YMCA, to help run the pool.
"Past reports have noted that the YMCA is actually really good at running those facilities," said Colin Craig, the federation's director in the Prairies.
"They all break even around town, whereas city pools all lose money because the city doesn't really understand how to run these things."
The city's administration is recommending a request for proposals be put out to have an independent third party conduct the community consultations.
The administrative report will be considered by the city's property and development committee on Tuesday.