A citizen group is coming together in a bid to save Jackson Pool.
The six-member team has been canvassing the business community with the goal of repairing the East Street swimming hole, which has been closed since 2015.
“I believe we can find a sponsor,” said co-organizer Daniel Harding.
City staff told The Journal earlier this year Jackson requires at least $167,000 for a major reconstruction and upgrade to meet today’s building codes and accessibility requirements.
Harding believes that’s target is achievable. At least 15 local businesses have already expressed an interest in donating money or services to save the pool, he said.
Jackson Pool has been a go-to summer destination for families in central Sarnia since it opened in 1966. But usage has fallen in recent years, said Rob Harwood, Sarnia’s director of parks and recreation
“Demographics are changing, so the demand for that pool is much less than it was originally now that we have other public pool options in the city.”
Coun. Cindy Scholten praised the citizen group for its activism, but noted a key staff report on Jackson pool is coming before council on June 19.
“I think it’s really important that we hang on and wait until that discussion takes place,” she said.
“If there’s any chance that council decides we can fight for it to re-open, then I’ll be the first person to jump on board to help Daniel with his efforts.”
Coun. Brian White said he grew up swimming at Jackson Pool.
“I have the nostalgia for it,” he said. “But at the same time I have to also be understanding … that there are reports right now showing the lack of usage.
“I believe, however, when you build something people will go to it, and that’s what I think this is an opportunity for.”
Harding said he is prepared to fight on even if the staff report recommends the pool’s permanent closure.
“I don’t care who does it,” he said. “It’s not for us, it’s for our kids.”
Anyone interested in helping can email Harding at [email protected] or search “Save Jackson Pool” on Facebook.