The closure of Dease pool isn’t sitting well with some city residents.
Ray Smith was one of five people who spoke to City Council about their decision to shut down the pool, saying it should be replaced instead of shut down.
This is a second home for the kids that swim and play here in the summer. It’s successful and well-used, which would account for its 106 years of service to the community.”
Smith argues it would be dangerous for young children in the Dease Street area to walk to Minnesota Park to swim.
He estimates it would take kids up to 20 minutes to reach Art Widnall Pool from the Dease Street neighbourhood, rather than the 10 minutes claimed in a report to City Council.
That’s a worry shared by Ron Chookomolin, who told Council Dease Pool provides a safe place for Inidgenous youth from Northern communities to swim and socialize.
“That’s the big concern: distance from the neighbourhood. Crime is high today in Thunder Bay, and it’s not getting any better.”
Chookomolin adds the community, including Indigenous youth, should get a say in whether the pool is closed for good.
He says he spoke with a seven-year-old girl who echoed Smith’s question about why the pool couldn’t be rebuilt.
Area resident Kateri Banning says it will leave local kids and teens without a place to go, pointing out the pool and park helped keep her out of trouble when she was young.
Banning adds she and others in the neighbourhood are shocked at Council’s decision.
“They’ve been told for than 40 years that repairs needed to be made, they’ve been told for 40 years that it needed more than bubblegum fixes, and they chose not to,” Banning argues. “Now their negligence is going to affect a large amount of youth in the Dease Park area. It’s sad to me.”