Jackson descendent watching swimming pool saga from afar

Darren Nesbit, left, and Dan Harding are a part of a citizen group fighting to save Jackson Pool. Journal file photo

Troy Shantz

The son of the couple who gave their name to Jackson Pool believes his parents would be OK with whatever the city chooses to replace it with.

The Dr. John and Edith Jackson Pool has been a political hot potato since it closed in 2015, with the city proposing to replace it with a cheaper splash pad and a citizen group demanding it be rebuilt.

“A splash-pad would not bother me in the least, as long as the kids were having fun,” said Doug Jackson, 65, who has been following the debate from his home in Winnipeg.

“I guess my question is … how did the pool get in such disrepair over the past three or four years?”

City staff have proposed replacing the 51-year-old swimming pool with the splash pad and multi-purpose gathering place. A splash pad costing $275,000 to $375,000 to build would be cheaper to operate and could be used by more people more months of the year.

Repairing the pool would cost $581,000, and upgrading the rest of the facility to meet current standard would probably require $1 million, parks and recreation director Rob Harwood has said.

Nearly 2,000 people have signed a petition urging council to repair or replace the swimming pool.

The city continues to gather public input on its website, and a meeting is planned to hear from the public in City Hall council chambers on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.

“It is very clear from the online survey that city staff prefers the splash pad or gathering place concept, despite what the majority of ratepayers are saying,” said Daniel Harding, who helped organize the petition.

Some residents have said they will help with sponsorship and fundraising, added Michelle Parks, another member of the Save Jackson Pool group.

“We just want this to get to the stage that we can work together with the city to create something great for our community,” she said.

Dr. John Jackson was a pediatrician at Sarnia General Hospital and a president of the Kinsmen Club of Sarnia. Edith Jackson led the Sarnia Kinettes.

The couple and their eldest son Paul were killed in a plane crash in 1964.

Regardless of what the city does with the pool, Doug Jackson hopes his parents will be remembered.

“I would like to have the name remain, only because my mom and dad were so influential in the city,” he said.