THUNDER BAY – We are writing this letter to kindly ask City Council to invest the financial resources needed to refurbish or rebuild Dease Pool. This is a much-needed amenity for families in the neighbourhood, especially children and youth. The pool has been a summer attraction in the area for generations, bringing residents together and building positive relationships. The Regional Multicultural Youth Council (RMYC) is aware that more young people utilize the pool than go to all the youth drop-in centres the City has tried to operate across Thunder Bay.
Closing Dease Pool will have a negative impact on the well-being of the youth. It will deprive them of a popular well-supervised safe place to interact, exercise, socialize, grow together, and enjoy themselves. Our surveys, police reports and media coverage confirm that Thunder Bay is no longer a safe community it once was. Getting rid of the pool will not help to improve the city’s negative image. But investing in safe spaces to counter street gang influence, and maintaining inclusive healthy facilities to celebrate diversity, incorporate teaching life-skills and educate them on the benefits of staying in school, volunteering, responsible citizenship, manners, the risks of using ‘legal’ marijuana, pills, alcohol and so forth will make a difference.
We realize the importance of fiscal accountability to prevent passing down debts to future generations. However, children are society’s greatest human resource, and providing what is well articulated in Thunder Bay Children’s Charter will lay a solid foundation to enable the youth of today to become prosperous and cover debts they will inherit. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It takes a village to raise a child, and we are pleased that many people are rallying to save Dease Pool. What is happening in our community is a result of a growing population of alienated and marginalized youths becoming disengaged adults.
Children and youth should be involved in community development, empowered to be part of the solution to the problems they are facing, and supported to solve social issues. Better communication with stakeholders and Council’s commitment to Dease Pool will show that children matter and are worth the investment. We need a positive message from City Hall, and the RMYC will work with you to create the Thunder Bay we want and are proud of. We are enclosing news articles about the City’s lack of support for our youth drop-in centre, and a report we produced ten years ago identifying social issues and the high-risk areas we believe would have saved the city from the social damage and more costly situation we find ourselves in today. We cannot continue doing things the same way and expect different results.
Yamaan Alsumadi and Heran Zhao
This letter was originally drafted and sent to City Council in February 2019 and released to media today.