Temporary pool denounced as tax waste
Published Wednesday, February 12, 2014 10:57PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 13, 2014 8:56AM EST
MONTREAL - Observers are questioning the city's decision to build a $2.5 million temporary pool when existing local pools could suit the needs of the upcoming FINA Masters 2014 swim competition.
Rather than using the state-of-the-art Pointe Claire pool, the city of Montreal will instead install a new temporary pool at Parc Jean Drapeau.
The city wanted to use the pool in Pointe Claire, but justified its decision by saying that the International Aquatic Association requires that all pools be near to each other, giving it no other choice but to build the new pool.
Olympic medal winner Jennifer Abel can't fathom that decision, saying the Pointe Claire pool is top-notch.
"Obviously there's a reason why in Quebec our atletes are so good, it's because we have so many pools that are perfect for International meets, and Pointe Claire is one of them," said Abel.
Organizers preferred to hold the upcoming Masters’ event at the Claude Robillard Centre and Parc Jean Drapeau, site of the 2005 World Aquatics Championship.
That event was predicted to bring more than $10 million in economic spinoffs to the city. Instead the city of Montreal had to spend $5 million to bail out organizers.
Regardless, the city is predicting the Masters swim tournament will bring in even more cash-spending tourists than Grand Prix weekend.
“The direct and indirect spinoff for the city of Montreal is about $100 million so we had to consider that,” said Montreal Executive Committee Member Dimitrios Beis.
The mayor of Pointe Claire said that the decision is wrongheaded.
“If some of the events were held in Pointe Claire, we could be downtown within 20 minutes. We have hotels in Pointe Claire, people can stay in hotels in Pointe Claire and the West Island,” said mayor Morris Trudeau.
Some competitors agreed, saying building a temporary pool is simply a waste of resources.
"I find it annoying that my tax dollars are going towards something like that," said Karen Schell.