City and School Board reach agreement on pools

From the Toronto Star:

Users of perpetually endangered swimming pools in Toronto schools are being thrown a five-year lifeline.

City of Toronto staff and the Toronto District School Board have negotiated a fee agreement that would see students and other residents splash in all 33 of the board’s city-funded pools until at least 2017.

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Fletcher was ecstatic Tuesday but warned “it’s not a slam dunk.” The city’s budget committee chair, Councillor Mike Del Grande, is expected to argue Toronto taxpayers can’t afford all the pools.

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Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth) said city staff are making it easier for residents — including users of Frankland pool in her ward — to book the facilities for birthday parties, aquafit classes and other revenue-generating activities.

“This is a Toronto moment where people come together and problem solve and find a solution,” after years of uncertainty, she added. From the Globe and Mail:

Toronto’s municipal government has reached a five-year agreement to keep funding 33 school pools, but the deal doesn’t mean the facilities are safe from closing.

“I would hope it means the pools are safe because not only are they in the [funding] envelope now, but the lease rates have gone down,” said councillor Paula Fletcher, whose Toronto-Danforth ward includes a school pool narrowly rescued from closing at council’s budget debate in January.

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Now some councillors who nearly lost pools in their wards, including Ms. Fletcher, are working with the board and the city to rent out the facilities for birthday parties and other swimming events to rake in extra revenue.

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