More than 18,000 swimmers use Widnall Pool every summer.
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When it comes to funding a neighbourhood pool, a local group wants the city to dive right in.
A report to city council Monday shows that the city's three outdoor pools need some major upgrades in the coming years in order to stay afloat. Dease Pool, built in 1911, will need nearly $1.2 million by 2016 in order to replace the liner and deck of the pool as well as install showers to meet current health and safety regulations.
It's recommended that the city start looking at replacing the pool altogether, which would come in at around $3.1 million. Coun. Iain Angus is worried that once the current pool is demolished, an estimated $180,000 cost, there isn't enough room on that site to rebuild. That would leave the city looking elsewhere in the neighbourhood.
"The reality is we don’t have much open space in that area,” he said.
While Dease has the biggest price tag and the most work to do, city council heard from the Committee for the Future of Heath Park Pool. The report recommends a $282,000 upgrade to that in the fall of 2014. But the group said it's a good time for the city to start thinking about the facility and nearby green space long-term.
The pool, built in 1953, doesn't have the amenities of a place like Widnall, which sees more than double the amount of swimmers that Heath does every year.
"We don’t want just a fixup,” co-chair Bob Hupka said.
The pool has been a place for the neighbourhood to gather. As more young families move to the Westfort area, it will only become more important in the years to come Hupka said. When the pool was built it was to keep children from swimming in the nearby Kam River. Children today still need a place to learn how to swim Hupka said.
"This is a life skill that’s pretty important in our area of lakes and rivers,” he said.
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As it was a first report, council accepted it and will discuss and vote on the recommendations next month.