Town to close the Centennial Pool! – that was one of the headlines to emerge from the recent Budget discussion. A couple of comments were made on the Draper report and then a “Change.org” petition was started by Meghan Thomas, a concerned Citizen. Sign the petition here.
BUT checking the Town’s website a contradiction appears about the ownership of the facility. One of my friends, who died a few years back – Bill Duncan – told me how the Lions Club had been involved with the fundraising and subsequent construction of the pool in 1967. There must be somebody left in the Town who remembers such a thing but what interests me is what happened after the opening in 1967. Was the pool taken over by the Town? Or was the pool taken over by the local “YMCA”?
On the Town’s website on its “Pools” page link here the first paragraph reads – “We have one outdoor public pool beside Victoria Park and the Cobourg Waterfront. This pool is owned and operated by the Northumberland YMCA. Located at 42 Charles Street, it’s during the summer months.” So what is it – who owns the Pool?
The answer became very clear after a check with one of the Town Councillors, he sent the message “The website is wrong as usual with things on there. I know they are going through the website revamp at moment at least. This is what the budget sheets say: “YMCA staff maintain and operates programs at Centennial Pool. Town owned facility” it cost us $ 97,661 for the Y to run last year and I believe their members use it for free and others have to pay for it.” So it is settled – the Towns owns it!
NO matter who owns it the fact that the announcement was made , as a ‘fait accompli’, without public announcement or discussion and definitely before a replacement was planned, the withdrawal of such an important facility is disturbing to a lot of people.
On the petition page Meghan announces that she is going to go to Council and make the case to keep it open. We at the BurdReport wish her luck. Because the Town owns the pool then a case has to be made to Council just how important the pool is to people and more discussion about the closure and/or replacement has to take place.
The BurdReport has learned that the pool was due to be decommissioned next year due to increasing maintenance costs and age. The notice to close the pool in this year’s budget shows a lack of understanding basic communication principles from all concerned. If in fact the pool is obsolete how is it that the case for a fundraising programme to replace it hasn’t been made public yet – if one exists! It is obvious to all that many Citizens will be impacted and have expressed a desire to keep it open. After all nearly 1000 people signed the online petition in just a few hours.
Obviously this is now a complicated case and until the public has all the facts Council should not accept a Director’s recommendation to close it without public input from all concerned.