Pool wars

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Neighbourhoods were pitted against each other last week in a media-created turf war over swimming pools—specifically, when and where a new 50-metre competitive pool should be built.

The city had hired a consultant to hash out the issues and make a recommendation. The "hashing out" part boiled down to examining what it would take to make needed upgrades at the existing Centennial Pool and comparing that to building a new pool out at the Mainland Common. It doesn't make financial sense, the consultant concluded, to do both. So far so good.

But CBC quoted Susan Kirkland, a member of a MLC activist group, as follows: "It just seems to me that we would be far better off investing our money in a new pool in the Mainland Common and shutting down the Centennial as soon as possible." Kirkland maintains she was quoted out of context. "I'm not interested in a fight, and I'm not advocating closing Centennial," she tells me.

Either way, left out by the Ceeb, as well as in a follow-up in the Chronicle-Herald, was the consultant's actual recommendation: Spend $3 million for upgrades that will extend Centennial's life by 20 years, build a smaller 25-metre pool at MLC immediately and wait until 2035 to build an additional 50-metre pool at MLC.

Good arguments exist on all sides of this controversy, but we pay consultants for a reason. Local media should at least be honest about what the consultants actually say.

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