Despite the protest of about 50 residents from the Heritage neighbourhood on Saturday, one Regina city councillor said there isn’t much that can be done to change the city’s plans to shutter Maple Leaf Pool next summer.
Ward 3 Coun. Andrew Stevens said, according to every report he’s read, the aging facility is no longer considered safe and substantial repairs are needed.
“Unless someone shows me some new evidence to suggest we can just patch it and keep it going for one more year,” Stevens said.
Shayna Stock, the executive director of the Heritage Community Association, did not dispute that. She said she has read the same reports and is dismayed the city has allowed its infrastructure to deteriorate to this point.
Stock was concerned about losing a place where youth could come and be active and keep busy when out of school for the summer.
“There’s lots of risks for young people in our neighbourhood and this is one safe space where they can come. I’m worried for the safety of our neighbourhood if the pool closes,” Stock said.
In the short term, Stevens said the city has a plan to provide recreational programming for youth in the summer. It could also offer transit and “barrier-free access” to the new Wascana Pool.
However, Stock said that won’t be enough.
“That’s not going to fill the gap that the pool will leave behind. A lot of kids will not take transit,” she said. “It’s walkable for some people, for adults and maybe older kids, but it’s still a pretty far hike for young kids to go all the way to Wascana (Pool).”
On Monday, Stevens is expected to bring forward two motions to address future infrastructure needs in the neighbourhood.
The first, to ensure there’s money for community consultation and planning for what will become of the pool site.
The other proposes that the city set aside about $4 million in the 2020 capital budget for recreation infrastructure.
“I think this community deserves an investment of that amount to be put back in here,” Stevens said.