CALGARY — City councillors voted in favour Monday of providing $400,000 in one-time funding for maintenance at two pools in Calgary.
The Beltline Pools and Inglewood Aquatic Centre will receive $200,000 each.
Ongoing since 2019 — when the topic of closing the pools was first raised — Monday’s debate centered on how effective maintaining the two facilities would be in the long term.
Four major concerns were addressed:
- The efficiency of the buildings;
- Their age;
- Weather they can be maintained, and;
- Can they still generate a profit.
Councillors were told usage of the two pools is significantly less than the other facilities with comparable amenities.
Both are more than 50 years old and in 2019 they were scheduled to be closed due to rising maintenance costs.
The scheduled closure was delayed due to a public outpouring of support.
That delay allowed city council to assess the concerns from the communities and two plans have now been put forth to save the Beltline and Inglewood facilities.
However, this does not mean both pools will be saved.
After attempts to salvage the old Beltline pool last year, city council had to admit defeat and come up with another idea in partnership with the community.
The decision was made to craft something new that would no longer feature a pool, but have other facilities, like a new gym.
In Inglewood, city council decided to give people one year to “use it or lose it.” Unfortunately for these public supporters, that year was 2020.
The plan for the Inglewood Aquatic Centre in 2021 is for the city to maintain the facilities and giving the community a year to prove how much they love their local pool.
Once public health restrictions are lifted, the plan is to reopen the Inglewood Aquatic Centre as usual, but not to reopen the Beltline pool.
The plan for Beltline is to utilize the space the pool currently occupies as something new that attracts people to the facility.
An ongoing plan is in development with the community of Beltline for this project.
The city has also approved expenditures to Repsol Centre to provide the amenities that these two facilities cannot, while still provide amenities within the downtown area.
Lazy rivers and wave pools are planned to be part of Repsol Centre’s upgrades in the future.
The work is part of City Council’s downtown strategy that seeks to draw people to live and work in the downtown area.
In the end it was a unanimous decision to approve one-time payments to the Beltline Pool and Inglewood Aquatic Centre while also investing in upgrades to Repsol Centre in order to bring wanted amenities to the downtown area.
With files from CTV Calgary’s Andrew Lohin
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