Jackson Pool In Sarnia (Blackburnnews.com Photo By Jake Jeffrey)

New Jackson Pool Development Proposed

Sarnia’s Jackson Pool could be replaced by a multi-purpose gathering place.

City staff say the East St. facility can no longer adequately and safely meet its intended purpose.

Sarnia council is being asked Monday to consider the new concept and authorize staff to pursue sponsorship and partnership opportunities with community and local service clubs.

Mayor Mike Bradley feels the community values Jackson Pool and is looking for it to be upgraded or replaced.

“Who’s going to argue about developing a master plan of Germain Park? That’s just common sense,” says Mayor Mike Bradley. “My concern is that council wanted the pool reopened and a report back for this season and if there has to be dramatic changes in how that area is completed and what happens with the pool, I think the pool’s essential to that neighbourhood and that part of the city.”

He’s concerned about diminished recreational services.

“The showmobile is no longer operating, Germain Park Arena is closed. We’ve also seen that there’s been a number of shrinkages of service to the public — which they’re paying their tax dollars for,” says¬†Bradley. “The big issue that jumps out is what’s happening with the maintenance? The Kinsmen Centre closing, Jackson Pool closing… why all of a sudden are we into these crises? There needs to be a better plan to deal with the life cycle of these assets.”

A community water feature and urban spray pad would be the key components of the new design, estimated to cost up to $375,000.

With the city’s shifting demographics, staff don’t anticipate increases in swim program enrollment for children and youth and Monday’s report says 2016 swim lessons didn’t reach capacity.

A potential partnership with Pathways Health Centre for Children is being discussed and Pathways has indicated it would welcome additional programming in July and August and any additional usage should council move forward with the closure of Jackson Pool.

Council decided last April to “temporarily” close the 44 ft by¬†82 ft in-ground pool after staff reported that the pool, built in 1966, was in need of major improvements.

A pool supply and construction company has recently estimated structural repairs, a pool liner replacement, accessibility upgrades and asbestos remediation to cost over $580,000, significantly higher than an estimate of $167,000 made in 2016.

The new number doesn’t include refurbishing the existing washroom facility, repairs to the wading pool or any aesthetic upgrades.