KAMLOOPS — Residents spoke passionately about their communities, but the mood inside NorKam Secondary on Wednesday night was noticeably more welcoming for City of Kamloops staff, which garnered at least some support for a leisure centre proposed at McArthur Island.
WATCH: Full report by Chad Klassen
For the first time in three public meetings so far on the topic, a handful of the some 100 people in attendance spoke in favour of the proposal, which would also close pools in Westsyde, Brocklehurst and at McDonald Park.
"We don't have a pool and Westsyde is not a pool that's easily accessible," said one North Shore resident. "There are a lot of kids that used the Boys and Girls Club on the Island. Now they're at the school, they can't get out to Westsyde, they can't get up to TRU. They don't have parents who can drive them."
But the Westsyde and Brock residents continued to lobby the city to spend the money necessary to keep their respective community pools open in the future.
"Don't know what the answer is for sure, but Westsyde pool needs to be fixed," said one resident. "We moved to Westsyde because there was a pool there. That was a big selling feature. Westsyde's going to grow. If you take away the amenities, why would you go there."
The Westsyde pool has been closed since last summer due to safety issues around the roof, which has been rotting after moisture penetrated the vapour barrier. The pricetag to repair the roof sits at a minimum of $3 million. The outdoor pool in Brock needs about $206,000 in upgrades next year to reopen.
The city says the McArthur Island proposal would be a more cost-effective way to offer swimming to residents on the north side of Kamloops. But some question the potential cost of the project and are concerned about the increased traffic flow into that area.
"Think about all those vehicles that are going to be coming in there if that facility is turned into the 530,000-person facility," said one resident. "There's the skate park, there's the playground, there's the fields, you're going to have to address access to that building because it is not sufficient, even for the amount of use it gets now."
The fourth and final public meeting will take place next Tuesday, March 15th from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Parkside Lounge.
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