CALGARY (660 NEWS) – There will be two fewer pools in Calgary once the new year rolls around.
The city will be closing down both the Inglewood Aquatic Centre and the Beltline Aquatic and Fitness Centre on January 1st, 2020.
In both cases, the city says it is due to age and declining membership, but it also follows council’s recent decision to cut $60 million from the operating budget.
Residents in Inglewood are disappointed to hear their pool will be shuttered.
“It is our only City of Calgary recreation facility that we have in Inglewood,” said Naomi Withers with the Inglewood Community Association. “We don’t have soccer fields, we don’t have baseball diamonds, but we do have a pool that is well-loved by community members.”
Withers is also a member of the Pool Posse, a local group being formed in response to recreation centre closures.
They have a website at saveyycpools.com, and a petition has been launched calling on the city to reverse these decisions.
“It has over 1,000 signatures thus far,” Withers said. “We weren’t waiting for the city to announce it was the Inglewood pool. The community banded together right away and we had the best attended summer general meeting that the community association has ever seen, because this issue has really fired up neighbours.”
The Inglewood Aquatic Centre was first opened in 1963 and the Beltline centre was opened in 1954, and both have seen numerous renovations and upgrades in recent years.
Withers said for the most part the facility is up to date in Inglewood, but still could have used a few changes.
“Unfortunately it’s not as handicapped accessible as we’d like it to be, so I think it comes to the standard the pool is up to, not the age.”
Withers said it will be a hit to the community and will have negative effects for the young and old.
“For seniors, it makes it very difficult for them to get their fitness in. And then for our school children who use it for after school care and for swim lessons, they’ll no longer have those opportunities,” Withers said. “There’s the option to get bussed to outside pools, but the second you add bussing in for schools, cost becomes a real issue.”
Withers added the city could take up efforts to increase membership so usage goes up during off-peak hours, rather than just closing it down.