KAMLOOPS - Not everyone in North Kamloops wants the status quo when it comes to aquatic facilities.
The city held its third community consultation in regards to the future of aquatic recreation on the North Shore last night, March 9. Councillors met with around 110 residents at NorKam Secondary to discuss the future of the Westsyde, Brocklehurst and McDonald park pools and a potential leisure pool on McArthur Island.
All three North Kamloops neighbourhood pools are in need of repairs and the city is looking into long term options for repairing or replacing the facilities.
The meeting had a more varied response than past consultations.
Previous meetings near Brocklehurst Pool and the Westsyde Pool saw near unanimous support for repairing the current pools. Support for the current pools wasn’t as uniform at last night's meeting, with speakers asking about an ice rink shortage after the Ice Box arena closed last year, saying nostalgia is clouding fiscal judgement.
Around 30 members of the Kamloops women’s hockey league attended and brought forth concerns about a lack of ice rinks in the city. Since the Ice Box arena closed, the league has decreased in size, Jennifer Watson told councillors. She says with the loss of the rink the league had to go to later ice times and now sees membership dwindling.
“We want to provide the women of Kamloops with fun and friendship,” she says. “If we get ice time we’ll grow again.”
Support for the pools was still strong though, as a large majority of speakers defended the current pools. Children were the subject of most comments, as some parents say pools played into their decision to move to particular neighbourhoods.
Many also spoke about being able to send their kids to the neighbourhood pools without having to worry, and don’t think a pool at McArthur Island will offer the same safety, independence and social interaction.
“I think it’s very import for our children to be able to get on there bikes and be able to go to these pools, these facilities,” Brock resident Monty Leonard told council. “The kids of Westsyde, the North Shore and Brock are not going to be able to go up to the Tournament Capital Centre and if you (built) the aquatic centre at McArthur park that’s not a big enough plot of land.”
Residents raised other concerns with a potential pool at McArthur Island, saying it lacks transit services, the parking situation is already bad and it’s not as accessible for kids coming from different parts of the North Shore, especially Westsyde.
One more public meeting will be held on the subject, March 15 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Sandman Centre. Council will then decide on whether to hold a study to look into further options for North Shore aquatic recreation or pursue a different direction.
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