A city councillor said he doesn’t think council will proceed with a recommendation to close Beban Pool for three months each year.
At Monday’s meeting at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, city council voted in favour of a motion to ask staff to come up with a scope for a Phase 2 core review. That discussion renewed debate about some Phase 1 items that haven’t yet moved ahead, including the recommendation for annual three-month shutdowns of Beban Pool.
“I don’t think we have the guts to deal with the seniors’ pool right now, I really don’t,” said Coun. Jerry Hong. “So you know what? I’m not going to deal with it. I’m just going to leave it. I’m just going to leave it because it’s very unpopular for us to take services away from seniors. I don’t think it will ever get done.”
Coun. Diane Brennan said she took offence to her fellow councillor’s word choice.
“I’d turn that on its head and say we don’t have the compassion to actually look at that as this haven for people who are elderly or people who have disabilities and require the temperature [at Beban Pool],” said Brennan.
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A core services review implementation plan presented to council in October showed that “alternative options for Beban Pool” were still being considered, dependent on parks, recreation and facilities master plans.
The core services review calculated three-month closures of the pool could save the city $280,000.
Coun. Jim Kipp said those closures would help to maintain and extend the life of the Beban Pool facility. He reiterated that he thinks the city should pay for additional lifeguards at Nanaimo’s beaches during Beban Pool shutdowns, which he said would get people out in the fresh air.
“If you understand physical fitness, just going to a pool regularly 12 months of the year ain’t going to help your physical fitness,” Kipp said. “You have to change it up. When you’re old you’ve got to change things; you’ve got to move differently.”
Coun. Bill Bestwick said the City of Nanaimo should be considering long-term plans for its pool facilities and suggested he’d like to see a new pool built, giving the Departure Bay Activity Centre site as an example of a potential location.
“I think we have to be a little bit more open-minded and it’s an investment in our future,” Bestwick said. “And I sure don’t mean anybody sitting at this [council] table’s future. I mean everybody’s young kids and grandkids of the people sitting in this room right now that will be the beneficiaries.”
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