Windsor

Water World to remain open until end of June

Windsor council voted on Monday to keep Water World open until the end of June as it looks for alternative sites for dozens of community programs offered by the Wyandotte Street East recreation centre.
Closing Water World would save the city around $315,000, according to city staff. (CBC News)

Windsor council voted on Monday to keep Water World open until the end of June as it looks for alternative sites for dozens of community programs offered by the Wyandotte Street East recreation centre.

Windsor council heard from several members of the public in Monday's meeting urging them to keep Water World open.

City of Windsor staff had recommended closing the recreation centre.

Water World offers around 60 programs a year but has seen declining enrolment since the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre opened in 2013.

Last year around 16,900 participated in Water World's programming, including 12,000 kids for after-school programs. That's about 3,000 fewer visitors in 2013.

"This place is like my second home, I do everything here and this neighbourhood is so bad and Water World is the place that gives light to the neighbourhood," 13-year-old, Grade 8 student Daut Said said.

Competing centres

Adventure Bay, the indoor water park inside the aquatic centre, celebrated it's one year anniversary on the weekend. Mayor Drew Dilkens attended the event.

"This was really to enhance the aquatic facilities in the City of Windsor. To add different elements of sport to the City of Windsor and to provide a family attraction in a location, the downtown, that people say they wish there were more family events, they don't feel safe. Well now we're changing that environment," Dilkens said.

Former Windsor councillor Alan Halberstad voted against building the Aquatic Centre and said now as a result, it's taking away from other centres.

'Flawed business plan'

"I think it was a flawed business plan. Others have said that. You know they wanted a flagship building, they've got it I guess, but who's suffering? It's the neighbourhoods that are suffering," he said.

The aquatic centre lost $2.7 million dollars last year but had more than 200,000 visitors.

Closing Water World would save the city around $315,000, according to city staff.

Water World's pool, which has been closed for more than a year, provided a cheaper option for Windsor residents looking to swim, said Besmallahsow Rali, whose family visits the centre almost everyday.

Rali, who lives near the centre, said the aquatic centre for him and for many in his neighbourhood is too expensive.

"Everybody's sad talking about this," Rali said. "It's very important for everyone."

If Water World does close, Rali said he is not sure where he or his son will have the opportunity to go to the gym or an after school program.

"We don't have any activities here."

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