MP Peggy Nash and MPP Cheri DiNovo protest the closing of Toronto’s swimming pools.
At 8:30 this morning, hundreds of protesters gathered at the corner of Keele Street and Glenlake Avenue to save their community pool slated for closure next month. Extremely fit-looking senior citizens with youthful energy wore bathing suits, goggles, and swim caps. Young children, chanting “Save our pools! Save our pools!” waved signs which read, “Swim skills save children’s lives,” and “Keep our services in our neighbourhood!” Time-strapped parents made this all happen.
Members of the press from local, community papers to national news organizations were in full force. To hear stories and interviews, tune into CBC Radio One at noon today, and watch newscasts tonight on CityTV, Global, CTV, and the CBC (also check out Torontoist’s coverage of a recent community meeting). The issue doesn’t seem to be about keeping just one local pool afloat anymore: it’s part of a portrait of our educational and health systems as drowning victims.
Parkdale-High Park MP Peggy Nash, MPP Cheri DiNovo, and TDSB Trustee Irene Atkinson called to fix the funding formula through microphones and megaphones. The Keele Pool is valued at seven million dollars, and requires $220,000 of urgent repair. Keele Pool Action Committee member Mark Walker compared closing the pool to “throwing out your car when a headlight doesn’t work.”
The City says it has no money, the province isn’t listening, and the federal government seems like it has abandoned Toronto. With reported surpluses making headlines, why can’t a community keep the pool they’ve shared since 1980?
It’s a jurisdictional conflict. The Action Committee will push for responses from the city, the TDSB, and various ministries of health and education. “The real problem is that you can’t get the Minister of Education, the Mayor, and the Health Minister all into the same room,” said Walker.
Maybe the real problem is that we live in a culture that doesn’t value its children or its senior citizens. After the kids followed the 9 a.m. school bell to their classes and the crowd dispersed, the parents were left wondering: is this what we want to be remembered for?