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Letter: 'No final decisions' made about moving New West fitness programs

Director of parks and rec responds to criticism
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I am writing in regards to recent postings in the opinion section of the New West Record regarding the early closure of Canada Games Pool, and to respond to speculative statements regarding steps being taken to address the service impacts associated with this unexpected event. 

For clarity, no final decisions have been made regarding the relocation of fitness programs that normally take place in the Centennial Community Centre gymnasium. Specifically, there are no intentions to cancel any group fitness programs offered under the banner of Fitness New West.

Canada Games Pool typically accommodated an average of over 1,000 patrons each day, providing a wide ranges of services including public swimming, instructional swimming programs, group aquatic fitness programs, and a large fitness centre featuring both cardio and strength training equipment. 

Recognizing that the sudden closure of the pool significantly affects many aspects of individual and community life in New Westminster, the Parks and Recreation Department is in the process of developing and evaluating alternative service delivery options for both fitness and aquatic programs. 

Unfortunately, some inaccurate statements have been made regarding service impacts to group fitness programs. We are committed to ensuring that we continue to provide up-to-date information to staff and the community. 

Given the relatively compact size of our city and the limited number of available local facilities, we are working hard to ensure that any displaced programs continue to be offered. We do acknowledge that this is not an ideal situation. It is our goal to balance and minimize impacts to the community to the fullest extent possible. To achieve this balance, in some cases, this will mean temporarily relocating some activities to suitable, alternate venues within the city.

The City of New Westminster considers all Parks and Recreation programs and services offered to the community to be vital in supporting a high quality of life. We are working diligently to develop service delivery options that sustain our current services as much as possible. It will take a number of weeks to fully respond to the unexpected and untimely closure of the Canada Games Pool and we will keep the community updated as this work progresses.We do ask for patience as we work through the challenges of providing these important services to all members of the community in a balanced and equitable way.

Dean Gibson, director of Parks and Recreation, City of New Westminster