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THE URBANITE » URBANITENEWS.COM » MARCH 26 2014 » 4

On Monday, March 17, city council voted in favour of administration’s recommendation to close the pool at Water World permanently. It’s been public knowledge that the closures of Water World and Adie Knox were part of the city’s business plan in budgeting for the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre. Usage by swim clubs and the hosting of swim meets has recently raised questions as to whether the programming at the WIATC can continue at levels previously offered at both Water World and Adie Knox, so much so that the city has been in discussions with outside operators to potentially continue services at Adie Knox. Should the decision to close Water World and potentially Adie Knox be reconsidered now that the city can better assess the usage at the WIATC and ensure that community programming continues at the same level as previously offered at both Water World and Adie Knox? Rino Bortolin To make the business case for the new WIATC, the city had to propose the closure of Water World and Adie Knox. The closure of those two facilities was to solely bolster the business case; programming and accessibility would not suffer according to the city. Through my experience in the first session of programming, both cost and availability remained the same. We are now preparing to book our kids in the next session at the WIATC. The Windsor Activity Guide has stated that all programming on Friday, Saturday and Sunday is suspended due to swim meets and swim club usage. Further searches show that a lot of Thursday night programming has been cancelled as well

Rino Bortolin

Rose City Politics:

»the closure of Water World

and potentially adie knox (with no explanation). The city has already stated that usage has been higher than expected — we can only consider this a success — but with the expected growth of the sport, we can only expect that swim club usage and swim meets would also increase. Because of these facts we now have to consider the decision to close Water World and potentially Adie Knox a mistake and a bit premature. Community pools are there to service the community. If the new WIATC cannot offer the same level of programming while meeting the needs of the local swim clubs it is imperative that the city reconsider closing Water World and Adie Knox and find a way to continue programming at those two locations. The decision should have been linked to programming levels and not rushed. It seems odd to vote on closing Water World just as programming cuts are being rolled out in the next activity guide. Was the programming level not considered in the decision? This was premature and needs to be reconsidered. Paul Synnott I think everything has been taken into consideration at this point. In terms of Adie Knox, the city has stated that they are in talks with a third party operator to potentially keep the pool open. The level of use at Adie Knox hasn’t diminished much since the opening of the WIATC, so there may be some value in its continuation. If the third

Husband, father (of three), chef/co-owner Rino’s Kitchen & Ale House. Rino Bortolin is a passionate advocate for all things local especially local food. Bortolin’s community activism focuses on local municipal issues, having run for city council in 2010. He’s contributed on many local campaigns at all three levels of government.

party talks fail, then city council will have to decide whether or not to keep funding it. Water World is a different story. Much of the programming there has already made a successful transition to the aquatic centre. The facility may undergo a name change but it will remain in the neighbourhood as a community centre, possibly with a gym now instead of a pool. The swim meets happening in May are a once in 10 or 15 year event due to the temporary closure of competitive pools in other cities. Where the city has failed is in not striking a better balance in programming between the meets and recreational swims. Cancelling some recreational programs for the spring session instead of offering a modified, truncated session was short sighted on the part of Parks and Recreation. Every effort should have been expended to deliver all programs. It’s far better to have tried and failed than not to try at all. Administration and this council have made the case repeatedly that no programs would be affected. Now it’s their job to live up to their own words. Kieran McKenzie Let me start by saying I’m a WIATC supporter. I love the facility and believe that it will deliver amazing experiences to our community for many years to come. With that said, we were given strong assurances from the city that the community would not see an overall reduction in service nor would we see an increase in the cost to access those services.

Kieran McKenzie

Political activist/organizer with a passion for social justice issues. A lifelong Windsor-Essex resident, Kieran McKenzie holds an honours BA in political science from the University of Windsor and has been campaigning in both elections and on issues since he could walk.

I have not found this to be the case in my opinion and experience. First the anecdotal, my daughter is a toddler. Water World was the perfect public pool to bring her to where she could truly enjoy the amenities safely. The graded entry to the water, the small fountains, bucket splash etc. made visits there with her very enjoyable and affordable. The new aquatic center offers none of those amenities to her at the same price. The large pool at the WIATC where family swims are comparable in price to Water World is not set up for toddlers. Also Adventure Bay is beyond her and significantly more expensive. With respect to the city’s general swimming programming and available community use of indoor aquatic facilities, there is a clear service reduction due to this “good problem” of the popularity of the WIATC. I am happy for its success — but let’s be clear, it is first and foremost a ‘Training Centre’ and a big time competitive pool. Clearly the city underestimated its potential to attract events immediately. It’s quickly become a very busy venue limiting its availability for community use. Given this ‘pleasant surprise,’ I assume the fiscal metrics have exceeded projections. I recognize that council has already dealt with the Water World question, but it’s fair to ask given the unanticipated additional revenues from WIATC: is the money there to keep it open?

Paul Synnott

Paul Synnott is a committed small ‘c’ conservative with libertarian influences, community activist and co-host of Rose City Politics. He has worked on many federal, provincial and municipal campaign in various aspects including campaign management. No dogs, cats or kids, his passion is politics and the City of Windsor.

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Volume 1, Issue 8 - March 26, 2014  
Volume 1, Issue 8 - March 26, 2014  

In this issue: The Urbanite sits down with NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, searching for the best absinthe, ethnic eats open downtown, Windsor inven...

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