City didn’t abandon Marion Aquatics, council hears

City emphasizes sisters ready to step back after receiving criticism over pool's impending closure

Patrons take part in a class at the Marion Aquatics Pool in November 2017. -- Photo submitted by Cynthia Stahl.

City councillors Tuesday were hoping to set the record straight as a deluge of calls, emails and letters continues from people upset about the closure of Marion Aquatics.

In early May it was revealed that Marion Aquatics would close on June 30, when the current funding agreement with the city ends.

Several residents have criticized the city for the decision, urging them to renew the funding support for one of only two indoor pools in Prince Albert.

The closure was jointly announced by the city and by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, who have operated the pool since it opened in 1977. The sisters said they no longer have the resources to keep the pool running. Council heard Tuesday that it isn’t just a matter of money.

In an interview in early May, Mayor Greg Dionne said the sisters don’t have the money or the manpower to keep it up.

“We did have a meeting with Sister Lise Paquette that did explain that the sisters are not in a position any longer to sustain that operation financially,” director of community services Jody Boulet told council Tuesday.

“They’re ready to move on to the next phase of life, and that’s something they’ve publicly communicated now.”

Dionne was also at that meeting, which he called “heartfelt.

“The sisters have given their life to the community,” he said.

“Please, let’s lift them up and celebrate their retirement and the net stage of their life. Let’s celebrate with them. Say thank you with them. Let’s quit the criticism. Today, we should lift them up and celebrate them and how they’ve made the community better.”

Dionne said the building is up for sale. He hopes it’s purchased soon, and that the new owners will operate the pool.

Ward 5 Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick, who asked the question about the pool, thanked Boulet for his response.

“The city didn’t abandon the sisters,” he said. “Its again time to move on and to have another phase of their life and do something different. That’s what we need to recognize and understand.”