KAMLOOPS - An online petition to preempt any closure of the Brocklehurst Pool has quickly gained 1,000 signees.
Tara Garrioch, a long time Brocklehurst resident, started the petition as a response to discussion in council and on social media about the future of recreation centres in north Kamloops.
“I know we’re still in consultation but this didn’t come out of nowhere,” Garrioch says. “I want to make sure we’re heard. Brocklehurst Park is the heart of our community. I think I’ll cry if that pool goes. It’s such an important, emotional place. It would be devastating.”
Garrioch says while the city cited low usage numbers at the Westsyde, McDonald Park and Brocklehurst pools in their discussion about recreation around the Westsyde Pool’s future, the numbers lack context.
“When they quote usage numbers that’s not very accurate,” she says. “The numbers are partly due to how the city operates.”
She says the Brocklehurst pool is closed when swim lessons are going on, which is a good thing for the children participating in the lessons, but also lowers the pools overall attendance. It was the same at Westsyde. The Canada Games Pool at the Tournament Capital Centre stays open during lessons.
“If you have children and they go to TCC for lessons it’s a gong show,” Garrioch says. “It’s all going on during public swimming.”
She says she’s had discussions with parents of kids with sensory disabilities like autism who can’t take their children to the Canada Games Pool because of its chaotic lessons.
She does give credit to the city for the organization of the Brocklehurst pool’s lessons though.
“It’s well planned, the city does a good job with it,” she says. “They utilize the pool really well. it’s a lot less traumatic, they aren’t getting knocked over.”
Another reason she sees the pool as essential to Brocklehurst is its role as a community hub.
“It’s our only major park in Brock. It’s crucial to keeping yourself engaged in our neighbourhood,” Garrioch says. “I think the park is the heart of Brock and if you take the pool away you're taking its heart away.”
She says in the summer the park and pool gives families, children and teens a central place to spend time. It’s been suggested that an arena replace the pool, but Garrioch is concerned that central meeting area would be lost and teens may get into trouble finding other summertime activities.
While she’s not opposed to a new leisure pool being built at McArthur Island, which is one of the more talked about options, she’s concerned about parking on the island and the lag between closing the pools on the North Shore and opening of the new centre.
Meanwhile, the North Shore Business Improvement Association has voiced it’s support of the recreational consultation in a press release. In the release, the association’s executive director Steven Puhallo says facilities on the North Shore and Brocklehurst have been around since the 1950s and a new, modern plan is needed.
“We need to take a step back and take this opportunity to potentially bring in modern facilities that reflect current and future use,” he says in the release. “The questions become ‘Do we spend significant monies on old facilities or plan for the future? Can we do both?’”
One city councillor has already responded on the petition’s website. Coun. Ken Christian replied, saying he’s looking forward to the consultation period coming soon.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.