Last Fall, I wrote about the City’s plans to completely overhaul the ageing aquatic facility that’s located beside the Memorial Centre. Presently, the entire grounds around the M-Centre are getting a much needed face lift, while the work will eventually focus on breathing new life into the Leo Lafleur Waterpark. While we were given a decent look at the proposed designs, we really have no idea what the final facility will resemble. Regardless, even if the city simply runs a sprinkler out to the middle of the lawn, it will be a vast improvement over the present pool, which has been neglected and closed for far too long.
On that same note, the City has proposed some substantial upgrades to other ageing aquatic facilities, specifically Artillery Park and Richardson Beach. While taking a leisurely dip in Lake Ontario may not sound healthy nor safe, the proposed changes to Richardson Beach are sort of appealing, while they include a more accessible point of entering the water, bike racks, a lookout point, and much needed renovations to the existing bath house. Construction is set to start soon, and I’ve heard that the work will be completed by the end of May 2010. Even if this project is completed on time and within budget, I can’t see myself taking a dip at a beach that’s located less than 1km away from a water purification plant.
Onto Artillery Park, where they’re investigating possible enhancements to the well loved, well used, downtown pool and recreation centre. This is the same watering hole where I earned my lifeguarding qualification back in the day, so it has a special place in my heart. Highlights from the preliminary concept drawing include:
- A tots pool
- Hot tub
- Water slide
- Ramp entry into pool
- Re-configured and expanded change rooms
- Family change rooms
- Strength & Cardio room
- Aerobics room
- Steam room
In addition to the proposed and planned work mentioned above, the City is also moving ahead with an ambitious aquatic add-on to the Invista Centre. According to the concept drawing, Kingston’s new 4 pad ice rink could eventually become home to:
- A 25 metre competition pool with spectator seating
- A leisure pool with beach entry, leisure lanes and lazy river
- A water slide
- Tots pool
- A flow rider (a wave pool)
- Running track
- Five multi-purpose rooms
- Additional change rooms, storage and administrative space
- New lease-able and/or program space
While I’m certainly not opposed to the idea of providing Kingstonians with additional leisure and recreation space, I’m a bit concerned about which projects will be given priority. I would hate to see the City choose to proceed with plans to put in a modern aquatic centre at the invista centre, and forget about Artillery Park altogether. In my mind, so long as it is financially feasible to renovate, Kingston needs to update existing infrastructure, before we go building a crystal palace out in middle of nowhere. Whether you agree or not, please drop a few comments off beloe. Moreover, please let the City know how you feel about these prospective aquatic projects.