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Hope is coming this week for Calgary pools that were set to close

Inglewood Aquatic Centre is set for closure on Jan. 1, 2020.
Inglewood Aquatic Centre is set for closure on Jan. 1, 2020. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

A new city report is holding some encouraging news for Calgary’s inner-city pools that were on the chopping block because of recent budget cuts.

City administration will deliver a report to the Community and Protective Services committee on Wednesday that outlines three options for the Inglewood and Beltline pools.

After a July 24 meeting with the three area councillors, administration pursued three paths of exploration.

One of those is to look at options to continue service at the pools with the help of a new provider.

According to the report, “if a process such as an Expression of Interest (EOI) were pursued to identify an alternate partner service provider to run the facilities (one or both), it would require approximately 12 months to prepare, distribute and then to evaluate submissions. Funding would be required to administer and execute the EOI as well as to continue operations in the meantime.”

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The other options include looking at alternative uses for the site or trying to find service continuity possibilities for the groups impacted by the closures.

Ward 10 Coun. Ray Jones said the city should always try to keep recreational facilities open.

“When administration does cuts, it’s always cuts that affect people in the worst way. I’m sure there [are] lots of places that can be cut that nobody would even notice rather than swimming pools and ball diamonds and things like that,” said Jones on Sunday.

On July 23, council approved the $60 million budget reduction package that included cuts to the city pools.

READ MORE: Cuts to Calgary Fire Department, police service, transit as council approves $60M budget reduction

According to the report, the Beltline and Inglewood pools were chosen for budget savings because of “poor financial operating performance due to changing citizen preferences, which have resulted in limited and declining participation at these facilities, and the aging configuration of the facilities [that] no longer meet citizens’ service level expectations for public recreation.”

The pools are scheduled to close on Jan. 1, 2020. A group called #SaveYYCPools started this year in an effort to keep the pools from closing.

The communications director for the Inglewood Community Association described the report as exciting news. Naomi Withers said that even though the pool has low usage, it’s a key social hub for the community.

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“Council has recognized that the pool isn’t just about the numbers. It’s about the social impact on the community,” Withers said on Sunday.