Sudbury

Sudbury pools will remain closed, but city campgrounds get go-ahead to reopen

Sudbury city council has voted to keep its four municipally-run pools closed this summer, but the city will be opening its campgrounds.

City council voted on staff recommendations Tuesday night

Sudbury pools will remain closed until at least September. (Aaron Favila/Associated Press)

Sudbury city council has voted to keep its four municipally-run pools closed this summer — but has voted to reopen its three RV campgrounds. 

At a council meeting Tuesday night, city staff made a recommendation to council to keep both services closed for the remainder of the season as a way to save money.

It's part of the ongoing effort to cut municipal spending, and avoid a deficit as a result of COVID-19.

Council voted in favour of shutting down the pools, but campgrounds will get the green light to open.

A number of councillors spoke against the recommendation to close the campgrounds, particularly since dozens of people have already booked sites for the summer. Coun. Michael Vagnini said Centennial Park, a campground within his ward's boundaries, has been a successful venture for the city.

"Social distancing is not an issue out there because of the way the camp sites are set up," Vagnini said. "[The park] is very profitable and it doesn't cost us anything to run that campground. For us not open it up to the people … blows my mind."

City staff said while Centennial Park is the most profitable of the three, overall the city loses money annually by operating the campgrounds. 

As a result of the vote, city-run pools will be closed until at least September 7, which staff say would save the city about $128,400.

Ed Archer, the city's CAO, said he's anticipating the potential of a "significant deficit" by year's end.

"Every of these dollars can contribute to offsetting that," Archer said. "But there is a service impact."

The city also expects that there would be fewer swimmers this year, as people choose to stay away from public gatherings during the pandemic.

Closing the city's campgrounds for the summer would have saved up to $81,000, according to the report from city staff.  

The city currently runs three campgrounds — Ella Lake Park, Whitewater Lake Park, and Centennial Park.

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