Regina council pledges not to close inner-city pools

February 20, 2013 - 6:57am
Dewdney pool in Regina August 2012. Natalie Geddes/CJME
Dewdney pool in Regina August 2012. Natalie Geddes/CJME

While Regina city councillors voted on the budget for this year on Tuesday night, another contentious item was put off for another day.

A report from city staff had suggested $800,000 should be set aside to look at updating Regina's public pools but council has decided not to do that.

It suggested closing inner-city pools including the Maple Leaf and Regent Pool, replacing them with spray pads and putting more money into the Wascana Park pool. That resulted in an outpouring of disappointment, with several schoolchildren writing their first letters to City Hall to request the pools stay open.

 Several concerned community members also made presentations to council raising concerns that inner-city youth could resort to vandalism or crime without the pools there to give them an outlet for gathering and exercise.

Mayor Michael Fougere notes the report never actually committed the city to closing any pools but he concedes the outcry speaks for itself. That's why Council pledged not to close the pools and to look at how they might be brought up to a more acceptable state (the outdoor pools are mostly double their initial life expectancy).

Fougere cautions that keeping the pools open and bringing them back up to snuff will come at a cost that may lead to tough decisions in the future.

"That's going to mean some different issues down the road but we made the right decision. This is what we have to be doing, to preserve those pools and find a way to make them more sustainable for the long term."

Edited by CJME’s Adriana Christianson