Westsyde Pool future still uncertain

By Adam Donnelly
February 2, 2016 - 5:54pm Updated: February 3, 2016 - 2:53pm

KAMLOOPS — It’s been closed since June of last year, and after today’s City Council meeting, it unclear when the Westsyde pool will re-open. What started as a roof repair, and turned into a multi-million dollar refurbish, has now become an opportunity for the city to look at its recreational facilities on the north side of the Thompson River.

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The pool is a valued asset for one of the outlying neighbourhoods in the city. In April of 2015, the city announced plans to close the Westsyde pool for a period of 16 months, while around $2 Million worth of repairs were done to its roof. Last February, Byron McCorkell, Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture for the City of Kamloops told CFJC News “Hopefully, this is a short term thing, but we don’t really know.” Today, McCorkell recommended two options to council

Option one: authorize a modernization plan for the Westsyde pool, which would address the root causes of the closure, and cost taxpayers nearly $5 Million. Councillor Marg Spina was quick to remind those at the meeting “Every $1 Million equates roughly to a one percent [increase] in tax,” said Spina.

Or, option 2: send $100,000 to undertake a study, and explore options for a recreation facility which would serve residents who live on the north side of the Thompson River, a population which Spina feels is being under-served by city facilities. “54% of our population lives on the North Shore,” said Spina. “Our single best recreational facility, in my view, anyway, is the TCC, and it’s up on the hill on the South Shore.”

Residents of Westsyde have made their preference clear. Amanda Cosburn created an online petition, which gathered nearly 1500 signatures, supporting an upgrade of the pool facility in Westsyde. She wants to see a leisure pool, with more areas for families and children in Westsyde. While there is an appetite for a facility like that to be built, city staff said they would like to have it located in an area where more residents could access it. “If you were to pursue something like that (a leisure pool)… the usage numbers would be considerably higher than what we’re dealing with in Westsyde. It’s location on Mac Island would be a considerable draw, in and of itself, and would support what we’re currently doing there,” McCorkell told council, when asked about a leisure pool facility.

Ultimately, council passed the recommendation to undertake the feasibility study, which will look at options for upgrading and expanding recreational facilities on the North Shore, but for residents of Westsyde, it puts the future of their pool in jeopardy. Which isn’t what Amanda Cosburn wants to hear: “I don’t want to see the pool closed down, and I don’t want to see it moved to McArthur Island.”

Council wants to complete the study as soon as possible, and hopes to have it complete in around 8-10 weeks.

 

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