By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Oshawa councillors got their first glimpse at plans to revitalize the aging Rotary Pool during the most recent meeting of the Community Services committee, and those plans will soon head out into the community for public consultation.
As it stands, Rotary Pool, located at 254 Centre Street South, is reaching the end of its useful life, and requires “substantial reinvestment”, according to consultants from Monteith Brown.
The consultants are now tasked with creating a new pool and park location that will revitalize the pool, which has seen a decline in usage over recent years.
Before council were four options which range from keeping the current rectangular, six-lane pool, and creating an accessible entry and nearby splash pad, to creating more of a “beach entry” with spray features.
Plans are also in place to redevelop the aging pool house and perhaps shift its current location to somewhere else on the site.
For council, the top priority was finding an option that will ensure continued usage of the pool and nearby Rotary Park.
“It’s been a mainstay in Oshawa for at least 35 years,” said Councillor Gail Bates.
For Councillor Rick Kerr, he stressed the pool’s importance in the years ahead as the nearby downtown and area continue to grow.
“It could be as many as 5,000 to 6,000 people living downtown,” he says.
Finally, Councillor Amy McQuaid-England pointed to the potential for a new pool to attract people from across the Region of Durham, which as a whole, has seven outdoor public pools in total.
However, while funding could be made available for the project in the 2019 budget, Mayor John Henry pointed to the need to do the work in stages, especially with the installation of a separate system to operate the splash pad. The splash pad would need a separate system from the pool due to the fact that the city’s splash pads open in May, while public pools aren’t open until the end of June.
Still in the early stages, the consultants are looking to have public open houses this summer, aiming for July to coincide with free swims at local pools offered by Tim Hortons