It seems just like yesterday I was learning the back stroke at the Bonivital public swimming pool, looking up at the ceiling, keeping track of the direction my arms flapped and trying to not hit my head on the concrete wall.
Fast forward 30-something years and I’m still coming once a week for my daughter’s classes. She’s looking up at the same ceiling and thinking the same thoughts.
When I say same ceiling, I also mean same floor, same lockers, same showers, same change stalls, etc.
Believe me, I love the place, as I have very fond memories, however it really hasn’t changed.
No one likes change but it is evident that, over the last few decades, Bonivital has barely been exposed to upkeep, let alone renovations.
When the pool was built in the early ’70s, it fit the bill for the surrounding communities’ needs. However, times are a-changing, and the area population has increased dramatically over the last 30 years. Back in the day the only communities in the area were Windsor Park, St. Vital, St. Boniface and Southdale.
To that list you can now add Southland Park, Sage Creek, Royalwood and Island Lakes communities that were not there in 1971, when there were just over 50,000 people in the area.
Census information from 2006 says there are approximately 89,225 people residing in these areas, new and old. Then you have the announcement earlier this year that the city is replacing the Windsor Park Library to the tune of $4 million by adding it to the Bonivital pool site.
So now, as they clear away the public works yard on Archibald Street to build a new library, nothing has been mentioned about a full scale renovation or replacement of the exiting pool, just that it will now be called a ‘multi-use facility’.
Another parent commented to me the other night, after dealing with nightmarish parking and cramped changing rooms:
"This is crazy."
Yes it is — and it never changes. Except for the new lighting and fresh coat of paint added to the reception area this summer. But that’s just a Band-Aid solution.