Regional public health asks Trois-Rivières to keep its swimming pools open

In a letter addressed to the mayor and the city councilors, of which Radio-Canada has obtained a copy (see below), we read that the closure of half of the municipal aquatic infrastructures will have consequences on the health and quality of life of the population of Trois-Rivières, especially among the most disadvantaged.

A committee of four elected officials recently recommended the city council to close five public swimming pools instead of renovating them. These are the pools or basins of the Jean-Perron, Anjou, Chenaux, Ormeaux and Jean-Béliveau parks.

Aware of the difficult budgetary environment, the DSPRP MCQ believes that the health, well-being and quality of life of the people of Trois-Rivières must be a priority and take them into account in the decision of the authorities.

A quote from Extract from the letter of November 2, 2022

The Department of Public Health and Population Responsibility of Mauricie and Center-du-Québec (DSPRP MCQ) claims to have been consulted last spring by the Municipality on this issue, but feels the need to reiterate the importance of swimming pools.

Access to public swimming pools is a factor of health prevention and contributes to a quality living environmentwrites Dr. Godi.

The regional director of public health asks the municipality not only to keep all its swimming pools open, but also to ensure that they are open attractiveness, physical and financial accessibility and security of its facilities.

In March 2022 the committee called Animating and supporting the community had estimated that only 15% of Trois-Rivières used one of the ten public swimming pools in the area. However, the Department of Public Health wonders if the committee made sure to consult the most disadvantaged populations before making its recommendation.

Impact for disadvantaged people

Disadvantaged people will likely be most affected by the closure of half of the municipal aquatic infrastructure, estimates the regional department of public health.

One of the advantages of having affordable public swimming pools, according to art DSPRP MCQis to promote theequal access for disadvantaged populations to a financially and geographically accessible leisure activity, which makes it possible to limit social and health inequalitieswe can read in the letter.

In the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and subject to the effects of heat islands, bodies of water are often one of the only ways to cool off.also points to Dr. Marie-Josée Godi.

Counteracts the effect of heat waves

The regional department of public health is also concerned about the impact that the closure of the pools would have on the residents of Trois-Rivières during the heatwaves that in the context of climate change, […] it will be more frequent and intenseunderlines the DSPRP MCQ.

Providing access to swimming pools and pools for children is one of the means that facilitates the adaptation of populations to intense heat waves, particularly for some vulnerable populations.we can read.

The budget of the city of Trois-Rivières is expected to be presented in December, but the city council could adopt the three-year capital plan (PTI) as early as November.

The mayor’s cabinet replied in writing that they noted the letter and that she will be part of one of the topics of discussion during the debate on the adoption of the budget.

A welcome intervention

This regional public health intervention delights the Mauritian Center for the Organization of Services and Popular Education (COMSEP). The organization fights for the maintenance of swimming pools in disadvantaged areas.

[Les gens plus démunis] they don’t have a pool in their backyard, no air conditioningexplains the general coordinator.

I know they can cut elsewhere than in deprived neighborhoods. The pools that cater to children who have almost nothing in life, I find it to be … I would say the word … inhumane.

A quote from Sylvie Tardif, COMSEP General Coordinator

Sylvie Tardif recalls that she was a city councilor from 2003 to 2013 and that she believes elected officials can make other choices.

Excerpts from the letter

[…] The DSPRP MCQ reiterates its position already expressed during the consultation of March 2022, according to which the closure of half of the municipal aquatic infrastructures will have consequences on the health and quality of life of the population of Trois-Rivières, in particular among the most disadvantaged. With this notice, the DSPRP MCQ wishes to recall the health, wellness, equity and quality of life benefits associated with access to aquatic recreational facilities close to living environments.

[…]

Access to public swimming pools is a health prevention factor and contributes to a quality living environment by promoting:

  • adopt or maintain healthy lifestyle habits through regular physical activity;
  • reduce drowning by learning the minimum skills to survive an unexpected fall in deep water (standard Lifesaving Society Canadian Swim to Survive);
  • equal access for disadvantaged populations to financially and geographically accessible leisure time, which makes it possible to limit social and health inequalities;
  • access to refreshment areas, particularly during heat waves. In the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and subject to the effects of heat islands, bodies of water are often one of the only means of cooling.

[…]

Recommendation

The Department of Public Health and Population Responsibility of Mauricie and Center-du-Québec recommends the city of Trois-Rivières to maintain a full range of swimming pools and paddling pools on its territory, ensuring attractiveness, physical accessibility financial and security of its facilities.

According to city data, 15% of the population has visited one of the municipal outdoor swimming pools in the past three years and proximity is not a problem for citizens. In this regard, how has the Municipality of Trois-Rivières made sure to detect the needs and opinions of the most socio-materially disadvantaged populations?

This type of infrastructure is an integral part of healthy living environments that make healthy choices easier and more accessible. Aware of the difficult budgetary environment, the DSPRP MCQ believes that the health, well-being and quality of life of the population of Trois-Rivières must be priorities which must be taken into account in the decision of the authorities

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