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Aging recreation facilities in Pembroke, Ont. in need of major upgrades

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The City of Pembroke is facing a big decision on what to do with many of its major recreational facilities.

A recent report with city council identified the Pembroke Memorial Centre, the Kinsmen Pool, and the Pembroke and Area Community Centre as facilities that will require major investment over the coming years.

"I'm really concerned about the cost of the facilities, specifically the Pembroke Memorial Center and the Kinsmen pool is at end of life," says Pembroke's deputy mayor Brian Abdallah.

The most expensive project would be the construction of a brand new community pool. The current Kinsmen Pool is reported to be in critical condition.

The pool itself is 67 years old and the building is 51 years old. Immediate replacements of the roof and walls are recommended.

A special council meeting will be held Monday to determine if a brand new pool should be built.

"The cost for the whole pool, it came to $43 million I believe," said Abdallah, referencing an assessment done pre-pandemic.

Roughly $17 million in upgrades is recommended for the Pembroke Memorial Centre.

At 71 years old, the PMC is reportedly in need of a new sprinkler system, seating, sound system, ice resurfacer, and a new parking lot among others.

And at 46 years of age, the Pembroke and Area Community Centre is in need of roughly $8 million in similar upgrades.

"It could definitely use upgrades," says Pembroke resident Leslie Perie, who brings her children to the PMC for youth hockey.

"The fact we're in a small community, [upgrades are needed] in order for it to last a long time and because it's so used."

"Anything that's 71 years old probably needs some modernization, probably some capital upgrades," added fellow hockey parent Donaven Welk.

"My opinion, it would include a new PMC replacement, aquatic complex, a second ice pad and also a possible library."

Pembroke's current budget forecasts a shortfall of $13 million for the upgrades - that's without taking the pool into consideration.

Abdallah proposes the city partner with a private company to build a brand new recreation complex, putting all the facilities under one roof.

"My opinion, it would include a new PMC replacement, aquatic complex, a second ice pad and also a possible library," the deputy mayor tells CTV News.

"This is the time that Pembroke needs to make a decision. Are we going to build everything under one location or are we going to have separate facilities?"

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