Sport Abbotsford wants the City of Abbotsford to reconsider its decision to close the Centennial Outdoor Pool for the summer.
The association, which represents dozens of local sports organizations in Abbotsford, stated that the pool is an important venue for many local families and will only push the capacity of other nearby venues which will be opened.
The City of Abbotsford announced the decision on June 17, stating high operation costs and residents’ desire for an indoor pool to be opened led to the move.
The pool is also the home of the Abbotsford Whalers aquatic club, which has a history of over 50 years of summer swimming. The Whalers stated on their website that the city has offered the club some pool time at the Matsqui Recreation Centre in August. They recently launched a survey to gauge the interest in this offering.
Scott Johnson, a former president of the Whalers, said that zero consultation was made between the city and local community groups like the Whalers. Families involved with the Whalers now do not have a local venue to train and compete in.
“We understand the challenges the city faces during this time, solutions have been created at the provincial level to allow safe swimming activities,” he stated in a press release. “It is happening in towns across the Fraser Valley and B.C. but these opportunities can’t even happen in Abbotsford because local groups have been denied the opportunity to even try. Once again, decisions about our facilities are made without consultation with community groups. Again, as a parent, to meet the interests of our children we need to follow the roads that leave Abbotsford.”
The decision has also been criticized because many other municipalities have decided to open their outdoor pools. Facilities in Langley, Delta, Surrey, Agassiz and Vancouver will all be opened up this summer. Sport Abbotsford stated that the closure is further evidence that the City of Abbotsford lags behind other municipalities in sports and recreation offerings for residents.
“This pool closure is another example of the City of Abbotsford prioritizing finances over families, and focusing on revenue instead of recreation,” stated Josh Reynolds, Vice Chair of Sport Abbotsford. “This pool serves thousands of residents over the summer months, and is a safe summer activity as the province continues to re-open. We hope the city reverses course here and opens the pool.”
Sport Abbotsford wants the pool to be open as soon as possible, and a petition supporting the pool opening has been started, and will be sent to Mayor and Council next week.
The petition, which began on July 1, currently has 195 signatures.