Bedford Park pool programming saved

[attach]5429[/attach]A hearty push by Bedford Park parents to prevent aquatic programming cuts at their local pool seems to have paid off.

Just days before the budget was to be finalized at council, the budget committee did an about-face and agreed to withdraw Bedford Park and Sir Wilfred Laurier Collegiate Institute in Scarborough from the list of seven pools slated to lose their programming.

The two pools were selected based on a motion by budget chair and Ward 39 councillor Mike Del Grande to keep city programming at facilities where the nearest pool was more than three kilometres away.

In December, many residents in the Bedford Park community signed a petition asking the budget committee to reconsider the cut.

Local residents such as Megan Segsworth, whose son Thomas swims regularly at Bedford Park, were overjoyed to hear a funding cut is no longer a concern.

“We’re thrilled, it’s really good news for us,” Segsworth said after the cut was reversed in committee.

The remaining pool programming cuts were prevented days later at council, as part of larger motion designed to prevent various proposed service cuts.

To ensure the long-term stability of all the school board pools used by the city, Ward 30 councillor Paula Fletcher made a motion during council’s budget deliberations that requested Toronto Lands Corporation work with the city manager to reduce the cost of the operating agreement. She also requested that community pool advocacy groups look options for into increasing permit revenue and maximizing program participants.

Currently the city pays just over $6 million a year to use the pools.