KAMLOOPS – The Westsyde Pool is set to close for repairs for more than a year beginning this summer and while it may be an inconvenience, starting a public petition won’t change the closure.
Area resident Amanda Cosgrove started a petition last month. Cosgrove was upset about the pool’s closure and is asking the city, via petition, for renovations to the pool, recreation centre and the addition of community rooms.
“I’m far more influenced by people who have actually read the report and want to debate elements of the report,” Coun. Ken Christian says, speaking of the information city staff presented to council regarding pool repairs.
Christian says people often sign petitions not understanding all the facts. In this case, he says residents are reacting to the 'urban myth' that the pool would be closed down indefinitely. This rumour is something the city adamantly denies.
Coun. Marg Spina is slightly more diplomatic, saying 'this city council values public consultation.' Spina says the city listens to residents about their community, citing the example of the Westsyde Community Association approaching council, and fundraising, to build a splash park. The first phase of the splash park has just been completed.
While both agree the needs and wants of Westsyde residents are important, Spina maintains the budget would decide what’s possible as far as the pool is concerned.
“Who's going to pay for it, we all do. Taxpayers pay,” she says, adding residents in all areas of the city pay for amenities even when those amenities don’t serve them personally.
Spina notes anything that’s decided must be fair and equitable for the whole city.
As far as Cosgrove’s complaint the pool closing for roof construction inconvenienced Westsyde residents, both councillors agree this was a safety issue and can’t be helped.
“I’d far rather be accused of shutting down a pool for longer than having a roof collapse,” Christian says.
Mayor Peter Milobar echoes the sentiment of both councillors, saying from day one the city has committed to public engagement.
“I think the petition is well meaning, but maybe (Cosgrove) didn't understand… how we were going to engage with the unfortunate roof repairs,” Milobar says.
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