Pool receives additional $2 million from governments

On June 29, just after 9 a.m., the federal and provincial governments announced that they will each be committing $1 million toward the renovations of the Laurier swimming pool.

The funding, announced by Kitchener-Waterloo MP Peter Braid and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities John Milloy, will allow the pool to remain open for another 15-20 years.

“The community rallied together to find a solution to keep this important recreational facility open,” said Braid. “Students along with community groups demonstrated how important this [facility] is to the community.”

This announcement follows one made last Friday, in which the two levels of government announced that they will be joining to give Ontario more than $380 million to fund 758 projects across the province that will provide repairs to community recreational facilities such as hockey arenas, soccer fields, pools, parks, playgrounds and trails.

“The main thing we have to celebrate today is the partnerships. I was so impressed with their passion and enthusiasm, they were so determined to find a way to make this work,” said Milloy.

Milloy added that now that both the federal and provincial governments are committed, the partnership is complete. “We look forward to exciting things coming out of this brand new pool.”

WLU president Max Blouw asked everyone present at the announcement to think back to a year ago when the decision to close the pool was first discussed.

“It just wasn’t a priority,” said Blouw.

“People, including the community groups and especially students, were eloquent about the importance of the facility,” Blouw added.

The money will allow construction to replace the chlorination system along with the entire envelope of the building surrounding the pool. The pool will reopen in September 2009 for students to use, and will close again for the summer of 2010 to finish the renovations.

“Let’s all celebrate and say Hallelujah,” concluded Blouw. “This is a brand new beginning for our facility.”

The full renovations are being funded by donations from both municipal governments of Kitchener and Waterloo, along with money raised by Region of Waterloo Swim Club [ROW] and a referendum voted on by WLU students where each student will pay $10 per semester.