KAMLOOPS - After a series of public consultations over a two-week period, the future of north Kamloops pools is still up in the air.
Meetings began March 3 and at the final meeting, held last night, March 15, at the Sandman Centre, about 60 people showed up to see and voice opinions about the options the city has come up with for the Westsyde, Brocklehurst and McDonald Park Pools. Council and staff were once again on hand to present the options and take feedback from the community.
The city has been reaching out to the Westsyde, Brocklehurst and North Shore communities for feedback on the future of aquatic recreation in those areas. Currently all three pools are in need of repairs with both the McDonald Park and Westsyde Pools closed until repairs are completed. Some options involved closing one or multiple pools, adding ice rink space, and building a new leisure pool at McArthur Island.
Colin Reid of the Kamloops YMCA spoke last night and says as a private citizen he hopes to see more ice, but as the CEO of the local YMCA, which runs a public pool, is interested in engaging with the community about the issue.
The theme of the North Shore getting less than other communities also came up. The Brock Community Association handed councillors a petition with more than 3,000 signatures, while Brocklehurst resident Amanda Conn read a written statement on behalf of other community members about taxpayers in her neighbourhood paying for things in other communities while seeing less in their own.
“The current proposal has opened a deep wound,” she told councillors.
Recreation director Byron McCorkell says the next step is for city staff to prepare a report from the meetings and present it to council. Council will then have to decide whether or not a study of the recreation facilities should be completed to better understand the available options, he says.
The next scheduled regular council meeting is April 5 but McCorkell says the report may not be prepared in time for that meeting because there is lots of information to go through from the public consultations.
He notes the city still plans for a new roof to be put on the Westsyde Pool complex, but what is underneath the roof has to be decided.
“We think we can do the gym version for the same three million that we have budgeted for that whole project,” he says. “If we just put a roof on it and run it as a pool we can do that too, the only concerns we have is that it won’t fix any of the long-term operating issues like insulation.”
He says a consultation will take a broad look at the options but notes budget constraints will likely dictate what options are investigated further.
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