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Winnipeggers rallying to save community pool set to close amid budget cuts

Residents in the Brooklands neighbourhood are trying to prevent their indoor pool from going under.

Eldon Ross Pool is on the City of Winnipeg’s chopping block because of low attendance and the need for costly repairs, but community members are now coming together to keep it afloat.

Lisa Jenkins and her two boys, Tristen, 6, and Ethan, 11, go to the Eldon Ross pool every Saturday

“It’s close by, we can just walk by or just hop in the car real quick,” she said.

Ethan lives with autism.

Jenkins says Eldon Ross is especially ideal for him, as it is smaller, close knit and the lifeguards know Ethan personally

“We’ve been kicked out of other pools because he’ll run and jump in and they’ll say ‘Oh you have to do laps first,’ and he doesn’t understand what a lap is but he can swim,” Jenkins said,

Now, Jenkins and others in the community are fighting to save the Brooklands neighbourhood pool, set to be closed as part of recent city budget cuts.

“We were absolutely devastated, we were like, “No, no, this can’t happen,” she said.

Between 40 and 50 residents attended a town hall, hosted by Coun. Vivian Santos, on Monday night to voice their concerns.

“We’re dealing with an uphill battle within this community that is in dire need of recreational amenities,” Santos said,

The city says the pool needs $10 million worth of upgrades and has low attendance.

Santos is lobbying to pause the closure and instead do a feasibility study on what recreation is needed for Brooklands, which is home to 7,000 people and growing

“So is swimming one of them? Is it basketball? Is it volleyball? Is it tennis? So that’s what this feasibility is going to be talking about,” Santos said.

For her part, Jenkins has an online petition to save the pool, with more than 700 signatures

“Just leave Eldon Ross alone. Maybe fix up a few things, they don’t have to spend $10 million to fix the whole place up,” she said.

Two outdoor pools, Happyland Park and Windsor Park, and 20 wading pools are also set to close in favour of 10 new splash pads.

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