Thunder Bay

Save Dease Pool groups appeal to Thunder Bay city council at public budget meeting

The message was loud and clear to city councillors in Thunder Bay, Ont., that many people living in the McKellar ward want Dease Pool to remain open.
Jeanetty Jumah was one of approximately eight groups and individuals to speak to Thunder Bay city council about keeping Dease Pool open. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

The message was loud and clear to city councillors in Thunder Bay, Ont., that many people living in the McKellar ward want Dease Pool to remain open.

About 18 people and groups made presentations to city council, with nearly half of them appealing in one form or another to keep the century-old facility open.

Jeanetty Jumah was one of the many who spoke about the importance of the pool to the south-side neighbourhood.

"They count. The people count," she said, emphasizing that the city's so-called 'soft services' need to be invested in.

"They're not here to speak. They have low incomes. They may not have my confidence. They are my responsibility, and they are your responsibility. Please, reconsider your decision."

Dease Pool advocate Ray Smith also spoke at length about closing the pool, and the impact it would have on the neighbourhood, along with Joshua Donald Hewitt, who runs a civic beautification program.

Chamber, soccer groups present

Other groups also taking to council chambers included the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, urging city council to keep the tax increase to two percent.

The group said its members cannot afford another tax increase, noting that water rates are also slated to increase.

The Chamber said it encouraged a core services review, an exercise committed to years ago, which was never fully developed. That review, Chamber President Charla Robinson said, would highlight mandated and non-mandated services, which would allow the city to have private companies take over non-mandated departments.
A number of people filled Thunder Bay city council chambers to voice their concerns about the proposed 2019 budget. Nearly half of the presenters spoke about the closure of Dease Pool. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

Robinson called for council to look into more partnerships for city services.

Budget chair Coun. Mark Bentz said a resolution was coming forward requesting the core services review, with others on council mentioning that the core review had been spoken about. However, no discussion has taken place, at least in open session, about a core services review. 

The discussion of a core services review, at the outset, would not be allowed in a closed session meeting of council.

Other presenters included Michael Veneziale on the need for an indoor turf facility, to be used mainly for soccer, while the Friends of the Conservatory also lobbied for council to keep the facility operating, and re-open parts of the greenhouses that have been closed due to safety concerns.

Council watchdogs Henry Wojak, Jon Powers and Frank Armiento were also slated to make deputations to council.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.

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