COLUMN: Carillon Flashback May 17, 1978 – Outdoor pool construction slated for new town park


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Steinbach town council finally decided to build an outdoor pool at the new A.D. Penner Park, bringing to a close years of discussions, speculation and controversy, which involved the town’s ratepayers in three pool votes over the last five years.

The spacious, well-equipped outdoor pool, to replace the Kinsmen Pool which closed in 1975, will cost $350,000 and construction will begin almost immediately to allow the structure to be used by the summer of 1979.

Council spent very little time debating the matter at the regular meeting and the vote passed easily with only Councillors George Neufeld and Harold Unger opposed.

CARILLON ARCHIVES In June of 1975, Steinbach Kinsmen members George Kosowan and Mel Mehling put a padlock on the gate to the Kinsmen Park to emphasize an earlier decision not to re-open the pool for the summer. The pool is scheduled to be filled in with dirt later this week, and the Club will retain the property as a community playground and downtown park.

Contractor A. K. Penner and Sons of Blumenort agreed to build the pool for a contract price of $335,000 plus certain extras, if the decision was made before Friday, May 19.

Had the decision been further delayed, the Town would probably have had to tender the project again and higher prices would likely have resulted, council was told.

Construction bids for the outdoor pool were received a year earlier, but council made no decision to build at that time, since an indoor pool was then still a possibility. Ratepayers decisively rejected an indoor pool in a referendum, April 11.

Even though there was no clear majority on any of the three questions on the pool referendum ballot, Mayor A.D. Penner interpreted the results as showing the community’s choice was clearly for an outdoor pool. There had been more votes for an outdoor pool than an indoor pool, and when indoor pool and outdoor pool votes were added together, the total was higher than the “No Pool” vote, Penner said.

Council had been evenly divided on the question of a pool at the park and Mayor Penner had braced himself to break the tie, if necessary. Councillor Les Magnusson reversed his earlier stand only hours before the meeting, eliminating the possibility of a tie vote.

Magnusson said he still believed the park location to be unwise at this time, but could see the merits of this location in the future.

“Looking at the cost, it’s a drop in the bucket when compared to what the town is spending on other projects, and the millions that have gone for water and sewer.”

The mayor said he believed people who might be opposed to a swimming pool at the park, in time would agree the decision was a good one.

Building the pool at the park will cost more than the proposed Kornelson School location downtown, since the park has no water, sewer or electricity.

About $20,000 will be spent supplying these services, but a portion will be recovered through cost-sharing of services with the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Course.

A drilled well will supply water, while a low-pressure sewer line will be installed from the park to the nearest town sewer line. The line will be blown clear and sealed during the winter to prevent freezing.

Mayor Penner told council the provincial government has included a paved bicycle path to the park in its construction plans for Highway 12, which is expected to be ready for use sometime next summer.

The town plans to build a second cycling path to the park from Townline Avenue (Loewen Boulevard), but no schedule has been set for its construction.

– with files from Peter Dyck

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