Residents upset over closure of McDonald Park pool

By Chad Klassen
April 6, 2016 - 5:03pm Updated: April 6, 2016 - 5:54pm

KAMLOOPS — It's been a pool used by North Shore residents since 1958, the oldest facility on the north side of the river. But in a short time, it will be closed and replaced by a wading pool and spray park. 

Residents in the neighbourhood are not happy about it.

WATCH: Full reaction from Chad Klassen and Tarrah Harvey

"I'm really devastated and frustrated for our community," says resident Donna Northcott. "I've lived here 11 years and my children, as well as many families here, use this pool on a regular basis. I don't understand why you're going to take away our pool but you're going to keep the other two pools. Our pool's just as important to our community."

Donna Northcott and Michelle Piluk live across the street from the pool and say the loss would have an immediate impact starting this summer. 

"We have swimming lessons we have here every year," says Piluk, who has kids 5 and 6 years old. "There are other people at OLPH, there's lots of kids there that are already enrolled, and we have nowhere to go for that reason."

Northcott adds, "We need our pool. My daughter, we live right across the street from here, she can just hop over here, she's 11 years old, she can go to the pool without me having to go with her."

Residents say some families don't have the means to take their kids to Brock or Westsyde, and Piluk fears kids in the neighbourhood will swim in the Thompson instead. 

"It means we're going to have to find a new place to swim and that's probably going to be in the river, because a lot of people come and use this and they don't really have a choice to go to Brock or Westsyde," she says. 

With needed repairs, it would cost the city $200,000 to keep the pool open. As far as visitation, the city says it's almost $19 per swimmer every year, more than any other pool. 

But locals say they're willing to do anything to keep it running. 

"This community would be more than happy to fundraise, just like they did in Westsyde at Centennial Park. It's not that hard to get a group of people that are passionate about it to do the fundraising," says Northcott.

While Council has decided to close down McDonald Park pool, residents say their fight to keep it open is far from over.

Westsyde residents happy with pool plans