Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

City admits mistake in evicting aquatic hall from Pan Am Pool

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In this 2006 file photo, movers pack up pieces from the Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum of Canada at the Pan-Am Pool.

MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

In this 2006 file photo, movers pack up pieces from the Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum of Canada at the Pan-Am Pool. Photo Store

The Aquatic Hall of Fame is returning to its home at the Pan Am Pool.

A last-minute settlement has been reached in a 2007 lawsuit between the hall and the City of Winnipeg, which will see the hall's collection returned on display at the Pan Am.

A report to city council states the city will pay the Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum a cash settlement of $250,000 and set aside exclusive use of the Pan Am Pool gallery for the hall exhibits.

The city will also pay the $600,000 cost to install the hall's cabinets in the gallery and allow the Hall of Fame to link its website to the city's.

A spokesman for the Aquatic Hall of Fame could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The Aquatic Hall of Fame and Museum was set up inside the Pan Am Pool when the pool was built in 1967.

Its collection was housed on shelves along the walls of the pool's running track and in the gallery addition to the pool.

The collection housed awards, medallions and memorabilia from the country's swimming community, including: the swimming medals that once belonged to Winnipegger Reta Tustin, a local swimming phenomenon from the 1920s and 1930s; Pierre Trudeau's swimming trunks (he was an avid diver); and paintings of Olympian Alex Baumann, including one of him in the nude.

The Aquatic Hall of Fame was evicted from the Pan Am Pool in 2006 following a bitter dispute over who was responsible for providing insurance coverage and the city's insistence on sharing the hall's gallery space with recreational users.

After the Hall of Fame left, the city turned over the gallery space to a variety of recreational groups for uses such as indoor lawn bowling, yoga and triathlon training.

The administrative report indicates the city was wrong in evicting the hall from the pool, acknowledging agreements between the two sides revealed the provision of insurance was the city's responsibility.

The report states the Aquatic Hall of Fame was seeking $21 million in damages.

A four-week trial was set to begin in mid-April.

The terms of the settlement include a 50-year lease to the hall, with no option for renewal. The Hall of Fame will be allowed to stage events in the gallery.

City council will be asked to approve the settlement at its meeting today.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 26, 2014 A1

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