The City of Winnipeg has started demolishing the Norwood Pool in St. Boniface under the hot summer sun — much to the dismay of a group of residents that have been lobbying councillors to stop its destruction.
“If it was open right now, it would be packed full of kids and grown-ups,” said area resident Rick Hoffman.
On Monday, onlookers watched with sunken looks on their faces as an excavator began tearing down the building behind the pool, which contained change rooms, toilets, showers and the lifeguard office.
“It’s a sad, sad day,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman has lived in the neighbourhood for more than three decades. He said he wonders what young families and youth will do now that the pool is closed.
“There’s kids all over. Where are they going to go?” said Hoffman. “There had to be a better resolution than just tearing it down.”
Coun. Matt Allard, who represents residents in the area, has repeatedly said the pool is fundamentally broken beyond repair.
In a Facebook post, the councillor said the concrete has basically turned to sludge, groundwater has been seeping into the pool basin and previous attempts to fix it failed in just one season.
“Obviously, maintaining this site in safe condition is no longer reasonable,” Allard wrote on Facebook.
People opposed to the demolition have asked for the city to delay decommissioning and demolishing the pool to consider other options after city recreation managers recommended its permanent closure.
Bob Gooding has lived down the street from the pool in Norwood for 35 years. He said the watering hole has been a focal part of the community.
“Everybody here has had their children involved in swimming … my children learned to swim here,” Gooding said.
Gooding was on the Norwood Save the Pool committee, a group that lobbied city councillors before the last election to keep the pool.
“We’re sad to see the pool go,” the neighbour said.