THUNDER BAY – LETTERS – The Renew Dease Pool team has been meeting with local politicians and other community stakeholders to prepare the way to bring forward a soft resolution (see draft resolution below) that will ensure that Dease Pool remains intact until funding options for the Refurbishing/Rebuilding of Dease Pool can be fully researched by Administration. City Clerk John Hannam has shared with us that a resolution was needed to keep the door open for Dease Pool in council chambers. As of today, Dease Pool is closed and will remain so without a resolution saying otherwise.
We have met with MPP Judith Monteith-Farrell who supports our initiative and Councillor Ruberto who is showing he is willing to help at this point. Councillor Foulds is also on record supporting Dease Pool.
We have also had a meeting and telephone conversations with McKellar Ward Councillor Brian Hamilton encouraging him to support the over 4000 people who have signed the petition to Save Dease Pool. Early this week Councillor Hamilton had agreed to bring this motion forward after conversing with Unifor’s Andy Savela who was the McKellar Ward Councillor in 2007. Andy has shared with us that the administration tried to close Dease Pool when he was elected also.
This morning we have been informed that Councillor Hamilton has backed out of his verbal commitment to Mr. Savela.
We have spent weeks of precious time believing we could get our Ward Councillor on side, which we did. It was only for a week but that week gave us hope and a renewed sense of purpose.
Saving Dease Pool for the McKellar Ward is now up to us, the people of this city. It will be your voices that will care and represent this neighbourhood, speak for these children and youth, these seniors and working Mom’s and Dad’s who depend on this much loved recreational activity in their neighbourhood. The struggle is real and we, as a community can keep and Rebuild Dease Pool for the people of McKellar Ward and Thunder Bay. It is our Heritage, it is our duty.
Given the safety concerns identified by the City, Council has voted to close Dease Pool for the 2019 summer season. However, the tremendous community support for retaining Dease Pool is reflective of the desire by the citizens of Thunder Bay to address the recreational needs of children and youth in the area and all other current and future users, therefore City Council agrees in principle that other viable options be explored as follows:
1. That no work that would prevent the exploration of other options be undertaken while the pool is closed for the 2019 season.
2. That an ad-hoc volunteer community group be formed to help City council and administration evaluate and assess the viability of:
a) The conceptual design and costing presented to Council by Ms. Kateri Banning
b) That matching funds from the Provincial and Federal government and fundraising opportunities from the community be fully explored to augment the portion of the possible city investment from the Renew Thunder Bay Fund, which would not affect the City’s tax levy.
3. That based on the findings above, additional community consultation be undertaken and a report to Council be presented before the 2020 budget process starts in the fall of 2019, with suitable recommendations made for council consideration.
Lori Paras ran as a Councillor-at-Large in the 2018 Civic Election and has remained as a passionate advocate for the downtown southcore and surrounding neighbourhoods.