Regina is in need of $20 million to replace both Wascana and Maple Leaf pools. Ottawa is willing to pick up its portion of the cost, but only in the province and city chip in.
The City of Regina is on board, but the province says it has other priorities.
“We had a great announcement (Thursday) on ‘Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, we’re going to have another great announcement with the Globe Theatre in Regina and Gordie Howe Bowl,” said deputy premier Gordon Wyant. “I think we just kind of need to move forward.”
Both pools are in Liberal MP Ralph Goodale’s riding, a fact that seems to bother the premier.
“This is not Ralph Goodale’s re-election fund,” Premier Scott Moe said on the topic earlier this week.
The provincial NDP has called for a truce, but the Saskatchewan Party fired back on Twitter, saying “while the NDP is sitting down with Ralph Goodale and supporting Justin Trudeau, their party is standing up for Saskatchewan when it comes to infrastructure funding for all Saskatchewan communities.”
On Thursday, Goodale defended the proposed pool projects.
“The City of Regina is making a request for some support to assist with an inner city swimming pool for low income kids,” Goodale said. “I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.”
But the controversy has become a source of frustration for city councillor Joel Murray.
“It comes down to the frustration that I have to tell a child that adults in the Legislative Building can’t get along with the adults at parliament so now they don’t get to swim,” Murray said.
Some pool users are also less than impressed.
“Disgusting actually,” said Maureen McKenzie, who uses Wascana Pool. “I’ll be glad when we settle it and we get our pools.”
The province has agreed with Ottawa to fund major improvements to Regina’s Globe Theatre facility.
The city says the two pools will be built with or without infrastructure grants.