Apparently, the days of taxpayer paid wine and roses are over for the Windsor Aquatics Club. At its meeting on February 21, Windsor Council rejected its request for free rental fees at the downtown natatorium.
It was a good decision.
Windsorites have had it about as high as the downtown Chrysler building with the costly financing of swimmers while the city’s roads continue in abject poverty. Now the swimmers must do what other organizations do, prove their worth through fundraising.
And that it what it is doing; running an advertisement this month in the LaSalle newspaper promoting a car wash.
How the mighty have fallen.
Without question, the Club, for its own good, needs to take a good look at how it operates. It has done little to build local support. At its April 7 to 9 Invitational Championships, it actually escorted a reporter off of the premises.
An outfit looking for government handouts simply can’t operate in secrecy.
The Club’s approach is also pretty petty.
By keeping its activities to itself, it does nothing if not a disservice to its most promising charges. They should be heralded and not curtained off from public view.
At the invitational, 15 year-old Jasmine Aden took home nine first places and two seconds. Madelyn Gatrall, 14, did better with ten first places and two seconds. Hayden Mitchell, 16, chalked up 11 wins and two second places. Fourteen year-old Brendan Oswald had 12 firsts and one second.
These are phenomenal swimmers who deserve to be recognized. But, there’s more.
There was little at the event to suggest WAC learned anything from December’s FINA 25m world championships. It was a typical sequence of children jumping into the pool over and over again. This whole approach to running a competitive event may be why swimming is not a spectator sport.
Windsor taxpayers spent big money building a downtown natatorium which hardly gets used. Supposedly, parents were downright tired of driving their offspring to Toronto, where most of the province’s swim meets continue to be held.
Aside from a handful of invitational events, and a perennial Division Championship shared with two other locations, there have been few swimming competitions in Windsor. With four new or refurbished pools in the Toronto area, including one acknowledged as the best in the nation, Windsor will have little chance of becoming a swimming competition mecca.
This is something Council should have checked as part of its due diligence before it got swimming glitter in its eyes and couldn’t see straight.
With its better handle on the lack of popularity of competitive swimming, it is gratifying to see Councilors making the wise decision to suspend the gravy train.