This will be Norwood Pool's last summer, councillor says
Outdoor pool to close because repairs would cost millions after groundwater level rose significantly
A place where Winnipeggers have cooled off in the summer for nearly 60 years is preparing for its last dip.
St. Boniface Coun. Matt Allard wrote last year that the Norwood pool is in need of major renovation in a community newspaper article, but the city now says it would cost millions to repair the aged pool and it will be closed.
City staff are working hard to reopen the pool this summer, but closure by next summer is unavoidable, Allard said.
"I had never heard any inkling about it before and very sad at the thought of it not being around any more," Tenille Sonnichsen, a mother in Norwood Flats, told CBC Manitoba's Information Radio.
She said neighbours who frequent the pool have had no opportunity to prevent the closure.
"If there's something that the community could do to finance the keeping of the pool open, I would be interested in hearing about that," Sonnichsen said. "Some of our summer days just get so hot and it's just so nice to be able to swim."
The groundwater level has risen significantly over the years, to the point where the groundwater aquifer is higher than the pool floor, Allard said, putting the water in the pool at risk of contamination.
"Every year the pool has to be drained," Allard told Information Radio. The "water table is higher than the pool and that leads to complications."
He asked city administration to prepare a report within 120 days to dive into the details of why a closure is necessary.
City staff will do "everything they can" to keep the summer meeting spot open this year, he said.
He's making the case to city council that the Norwood community deserves a recreational replacement.
Allard wants to convert the pool property into a beach volleyball court, splash pad and new playground, but he's open to other ideas.
"What I didn't really want people to see is one day just waking up and realizing the pool was closed, the big closed sign, and no plan for transitioning for the future," he said. "I wanted to be proactive about this, get the information out early and start engaging with people."
Allard will lobby city council to allocate funding for the new investments, as well as the pool's decommissioning, he said.
Sonnichsen fondly remembers the "yellow twisty slides" at Norwood Pool she played on as a child and she has loved watching her children enjoy the summer at the same place.
"They don't have the slides anymore but still, I have that memory of something that was super fun from when I was a kid," she said. "I love the idea of my kids being able to enjoy the same kind of memories at the same place."
Allard will discuss the issue at a public meeting at Norwood Community Centre on May 22 at 7 p.m.
With files from Marcy Makusa and Samantha Samson