Although done on a trial basis at first, the pool will be open for only four hours every Sunday this season in Magrath.
“Every municipality is under the obligation to represent, as best they can, the interests of both the majority and minority of all of its citizens. We understand that opening town recreational facilities on Sundays is often questioned by many in our community,” said the town via press release on their website, adding the ice arena and other facilities have been operated in this manner for many years.
The matter was first brought to the newly formed Recreation committee, although without much room for discussion many residents left unhappy with how the information was presented.
“The town was not asked for any input. The decision was made without any consideration (to the Rec committee) and I don’t think you would treat other employees that way,” said resident Carma Thomson in a public forum earlier this year. “I feel this decision was made without input from anybody.”
Thomson and other members of the public, around 10 – mostly members of the Magrath lifeguard staff – jointly approached council with their concerns, many of which centered around rate payer usage.
“This decision affects people in town. I had to speak up because the silent majority is too silent and the minority seems to rule and I don’t know that, that is correct or right . . . I don’t see how we are running it (open Monday to Saturday) as being exclusive,” she said, in an effort to back up her argument.
“Although you’re opposed to it, there are other people who would say they are for it. (And) whether we represent this group of rate payers or the other group of ratepayers who want the pool open, everything that comes to the council table (has) people who support it and people who don’t,” said Mayor Russ Barnett of council’s decision.
In response to the feedback received the majority of councillors felt it was time to re-open the pool on Sundays again, something that hadn’t been done since 1994.
“Amazing democracies have been known to make sure all people are heard,” said Coun. Brenda Beck in regards to minority being heard over majority.
The decision to open the pool, for a trial basis on Sundays, was reached recently, and all citizens in town were considered in the process regardless of religious denomination.
“Council’s recent decision, representing all of our citizens, was that it was in the interest of many in our community to try this out again during the two months, essentially, of the 2014 swimming season,” the town said via press release.
This will allow the town to closely monitor usage and attendance over the trial period, the group will then form a concrete decision on Sundays for years to come. Several other businesses, like Roosters, Winks and the Blue Goose are also open Sundays.
Last year an average of 71 people used the pool on Saturdays.
Being able to agree on issues like these have never been easy, especially when there is a clear split in opinion, however over the past 115 years Magrath has distinguished itself as a fair-minded town, sensitive to the needs of all ratepayers.
“It is in this light that this decision was made, and as your elected officials, we appreciate the trust you have placed in us and would appreciate your continuing support,” they said.
For more information please contact the Town of Magrath at 403-758-3212.