Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Maddin to mayor: keep pool in picture

Famed city film director makes plea to Katz

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A film director who's made the city famous around the world is calling on the mayor to keep Sherbrook Pool open.

Guy Maddin, maker of the acclaimed documentary My Winnipeg, has written Mayor Sam Katz to say he's "extremely saddened to hear of the sudden and possibly permanent closure of Sherbrook Pool."

In November, the pool was suddenly shut after the discovery that 10 pillars supporting the roof had eroded.

A city spokeswoman said Friday "department and third-party engineers are still conducting the structural assessment of the whole building.

"Then we will be looking at all our options. So no decision has been made at this time," she said.

Maddin said the pool, built in 1930, is "just one of the many historically and emotionally iconic Winnipeg locations under constant threat of obliteration here in Winnipeg.

"Far too many rock-solid buildings in Winnipeg have fallen to the wrecker's ball as part of short-term plans that lack vision, perspective or sense of our place in the great human flow of time.

"Their razing has left us ignorant of Winnipeg itself, poorer citizens of the world," Maddin wrote Katz.

"I'm not opposed to change or progress. We just have to ask ourselves what progress is. I love the new MTS Centre, but please, please don't let what happened to Eaton's happen to the Sherbrook Pool."

Maddin said places such as the Sherbrook Pool are "part of our collective consciousness.

"My film, My Winnipeg, is a fanciful and affectionate look at what is really a great city, the city I love, our Winnipeg.

"In the movie, I dreamed there are actually three levels to Sherbrook Pool -- that's how deeply I felt that facility rooted itself in our city's collective memory," he wrote.

A group called Friends of Sherbrook Pool, which raised $5 million for the facility in the past, told news media they felt the city's lack of discussion about the pool's issues after this fall's closure was "disrespectful."

"So many Winnipeggers have felt so strongly about the pool for so long, I feel it's tragic to abort the possibility of further generations feeling the same way," Maddin wrote.

"Let's all get together and fix the one level of the pool that actually does exist," wrote Maddin. "The community it serves needs this pool, the city needs this pool, we all need Sherbrook Pool to stay open."

gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 12, 2013 B1

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