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LETTER: Echo Centre loses lustre, and who’s to blame?

Echo Centre is no longer a “now” place…

To the Editor,

Recently I was provided with a 1973 article on Echo Centre from the then Daily Colonist of Victoria. The article describes how it was a “now” place and the centre of leisure activity in the city. The article goes on to say it was considered “the best community centre in the province…” and was crowded every day.

Fast forward to today. Echo Centre is no longer a “now” place. The pool is the oldest un-renovated pool in Canada, not crowded every day and has no modern amenities that seniors, kids and families enjoy. Our residents instead travel to other communities to enjoy more modern aquatic centres.

All councils have obsessed over how to reinvent the city to attract tourists while forgetting about its residents. This council has no serious plan or interest in replacing the pool. They may say they do but their actions say otherwise.

The city’s strategic plan states: “Our Mission is to enhance the quality of life of residents and taxpayers by creating a vibrant waterfront community.” The pool replacement is not even mentioned in their strategic priorities, but building a multi-model path is No. 1.

To achieve their goal, they are spending millions of reserve money on a path along the tracks and purchased the Somass Mill site so we can be a more “vibrant, waterfront community.”

It sounds wonderful, but if the goal is to enhance our quality of life, then replacing the aquatic centre should be their No. 1 priority. Anything done at the waterfront will not likely offer as much for so many year-round.

How much will a path along the tracks enhance your quality of life? Safe to say it won’t. And you won’t see many people utilizing the path during our long, wet winters. Instead, folks will continue to travel to other communities to use their aquatic centres.

Randy Fraser,

Port Alberni