To the Editor,
I have been a regular patron of the Echo 67 Pool for the last 15-plus years and there have been ups and downs at the pool for various reasons. The city has managed to keep this pool running over the years and it has in my opinion become an essential service to our city.
I was shocked and disappointed to hear about the cuts that the council introduced to the Echo swimming pool hours last week. The times that the public can use it have been drastically cut and so also jobs for the various employees for the centre. In this time of COVID-19 restrictions I cannot think of a more important time to keep these services going—not only for physical health but also for mental health.
I have been using the swimming pool since it re-opened in October and I believe the staff have come up with an excellent and seamless plan to follow the COVID-19 guidelines and restrict social interaction while maintaining accessibility of the swimming pool.
In the time that the pool had been closed since March last year it became apparent how fragile some of our older community is if they can not use the pool for their essential exercises. Not only are the older generations vulnerable if this service is cut, but the younger generation as well. We live on an island and I feel everyone should have the life skill to be able to swim. We should not make this more difficult to accomplish.
I know budget cuts are difficult, but we should prioritize our community’s health, and this is a slippery slope that the council has started on. Few years ago, we were talking about building a new pool – now we are slowly shutting it down.
I urge the council to rethink this decision and consider making the pool more accessible to all people of Port Alberni.
Dr. Owen Brown,