Great to see community rally for pool

By: Rob Altemeyer - MLA for Wolseley

As published in The Metro

June 4th 2014

A unique gem in Winnipeg’s core is about to get a much-needed facelift. Just last month community members and government leaders gathered to celebrate the new $4-million plan to reopen the historic Sherbrook Pool.

Many of us were shocked and saddened when the pool was suddenly closed due to safety issues in November 2012. In operation since 1931, Sherbrook Pool has served as a crucial recreational facility for both those of us who live in the heart of Winnipeg and for many others who travel for the pool’s easy accessibility and warmer waters.

Citizens living with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and those who are rehabilitating from orthopedic surgery found special comfort in the pool, as have different religious groups and lower-income families looking for an affordable place to swim and exercise.

Getting the plan in place to reopen the pool has been no easy task. Significant structural problems with the support columns, roof and mechanical systems were uncovered, to say nothing of the state of the pool’s deck and change rooms. Thankfully, the Friends of Sherbrook Pool community group has been a powerful advocate for the pool since 1992, and sprang into action once again as soon as the pool closure was announced. They were joined by many other supportive organizations and local celebrities, including former Olympic athletes. Working together, these groups found temporary alternative swimming opportunities for some of the Sherbrook Pool’s regular users.

The lobbying and advocacy paid off when City Hall announced it would indeed work to reopen the pool, and earmarked more than $1 million towards the cause. Then the Kinsmen Club of Winnipeg continued their proud history of community support by pledging an additional $1 million towards the pool, and on May 16 my colleague Kevin Chief, Minister for Children and Youth Opportunities, announced the provincial government would provide an additional $1.2 million contribution for this city-run facility.

After the official announcement was completed, I happened past the gorgeous new green space at Gordon Bell High School. It occurred to me then that in saving Sherbrook Pool, our community has once again demonstrated its strength and resilience to work together for the betterment of all.

Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to know more about Sherbrook Pool, or anything else going on in our neighbourhood, by sending me an email at Rob.Altemeyer@YourManitoba.ca or calling 204-775-8575.