Campaign launched to save Pathways therapeutic swim pool

Sarah and Matthew Prior stand with son Noah in the empty Pathways Health Centre therapeutic pool, which has been closed since December. Jake Romphf

Jake Romphf

Sarnia’s only therapeutic swimming pool has been out of commission since December when the facility at Pathways Health Centre for Children was found to be leaking.

The closure hasn’t been good for Noah Prior, a four-year-old Sarnia boy with autism and developmental delays.

Regular therapy sessions done in the pool helped Noah increase his strength and walking abilities, said his father, Matthew Prior.

“He loves the pool so much and he’s so much happier here.”

The Priors were on hand last week when Pathways announced a capital campaign to save the pool for the 11,000 children, seniors and community members who use it each year.

A long-term, sustainable fix will cost up to $1 million, but about $100,000 is needed in the short-term to get the pool up and running by September, said Pathways executive director Jenny Greensmith.

“We’re experiencing the physical emptiness today, but this is a huge emptiness in the lives of the populations who really depend on it.”

The Save the Pathways Pool campaign is targeting individuals as well as corporate donors, charities and government.

It was thought that damage in the piping of the 30-year-old saltwater pool was causing the leak. But recent pressure testing indicates it is actually coming from beneath the main drain.

“This is not a game changer at this point,” Greensmith said. “We’re moving along with our plan.”

The Priors hope the pool can be reopened to the community as soon as possible. They said they’ve seen firsthand how it helped Noah, who has a rare disorder called Coffin-Siris syndrome.

“Without it, we’ve seen a bit of a decline in his social skills and independence,” mother Sarah Prior said.

Donations to help save the therapeutic swimming pool can be made at the Pathways website or via email at poolcampaign@pathwayscentre.org.