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Council looking at options for Rotary Pool

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

What will be done with Rotary Pool is once again up in the air as the community services committee is hedging it bets on another grant opportunity.

Since Oshawa’s application for a grant from the province to help rebuild Rotary Pool was denied, Ward 5 City Councillor John Gray led the charge for a wait and see approach.

“Rather than jumping in to find another solution, we should wait and reapply again,” he says, adding other municipalities have done the same and had positive results.

He notes the city won’t be able to get anything done regarding the pool for the remainder of 2020, and while there are no guarantees, he would like to see the city try again.

Ward 3 City Councillor Bradley Marks approved of Gray’s comments, but notes the city will eventually need to move forward.

“If we can get the grants from the government, so be it, but I think we should prepare ourselves,” he says.

Marks also says he is concerned about the costs of the bathhouse, which cost the city approximately $5 million.

Chair of the community services committee and Ward 4 City and Regional Councillor Rick Kerr notes the costs may seem elevated, but staff put them in place in order to plan for contingencies.

Mayor Dan Carter says he agrees with the direction of the motion, but notes council doesn’t know what’s going to happen over the next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As you make decisions in regards to next steps, understand that October of 2019 is very different to October 2020,” he says to council.

Ward 2 City Councillor Jane Hurst says she wants to see something done with the pool now, calling it an “eyesore.”

“This is a housekeeping issue. My impression at this point in time… is that the pool is  past the point of rehabilitation,” she says, adding whenever she drives past it she shakes her head.

She says no matter what council decides, it is an issue which will follow them until it is resolved. She adds if Rotary Pool belonged to a resident, the state it is in wouldn’t be tolerated by residents or council.

“If this was an abandoned pool in a residential neighbourhood, the neighbours would be up in arms,” she says.

Ultimately, it was referred back to staff, with Ward 4 City Councillor Derek Giberson being the only member of committee to vote against the referral.