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City of Pembroke to go ahead with $1.4 million pool renovations


Pembroke's Kinsmen Community Pool remains closed, but may be reopening sooner than anticipated.

The city closed the pool at the start of January, describing the 51-year-old building as "at its end of life."

At the time, city council decided against renovations which included new walls, roof and HVAC system, all at a cost of $1.4-million.

Instead, council wanted to first explore the building of a brand new pool, initially quoted at $40 million and taking five to seven years to build.

"Currently, there's no pool that you can access," says Megan Conway with the newly formed Friends of the Upper Ottawa Valley Regional Pool group.

"You have to drive to Arnprior, which is about an hour away and so that doesn't exactly enable access to recreation or access to water safety."

The group started a petition shortly after the closure was announced, gathering roughly 2,300 signatures to reopen the pool before presenting it to a recent public forum.

"I think what it does is show the importance of the pool to a small community, not only Pembroke and Laurentian Valley but also our neighbors of Whitewater, North Algona Wilberforce, the Pontiac," said Chris Pleau, another member of the newly formed pool group.

The mass public outcry from the community was enough to convince the city to move ahead with the $1.4 million renovations.

To help pay for the expense, Pembroke is calling on surrounding municipalities and organizations to cover 25 per cent of the cost.

"We've written to all of the different municipalities, the school boards, the Garrison, you name it," said Pembroke mayor Ron Gervais.

"Some have not been as favourable as what I would have liked. But look, all of you have residents that use this pool so you should be contributing towards it."

The pool will still remain closed for a majority of the year, but Gervais says if repairs happen swiftly, it will be able to reopen by late summer or early fall.

"If the funding was to come forward in the next month let's say, or at least a commitment to that funding and perhaps it's over a period of time, we would immediately see to the repairs. Which should get done somewhere between July and August."

Conway says Friends of the Upper Ottawa Valley Regional Pool want to contribute to the repair costs, and plan to fundraise for immediate expenses as well as the cost of a new future aquatic centre.

"I definitely think there's capacity in the community to raise money for an aquatic center and to support the repairs, along with a long term vision for a future pool." Top Stories

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