Benny Pool demolition gets OK

Martin C.
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Côte des Neiges-NDG's borough council took another step last Monday towards building a new sports and recreation complex in NDG's Benny Park, when it authorized the demolition of the existing outdoor Benny Pool.

Answering questions during the monthly borough council meeting from NDG resident Neal Rankin, Mayor Michael Applebaum said, "This work will be done once the weather is permitting, after which we will also very shortly within the next couple of months be awarding the contract for the construction. "And completion should be terminated, if I'm correct, in the month of December of 2010, which would be the official opening of this facility … We're very pleased that we're moving forward in this dossier. It's something that residents have wanted for many years."

Originally slated for a parcel of land at Benny Farm purchased by the City of Montreal on the southwest corner of Monkland and Benny, the location was changed to the other side of the street when the project was paired with a complementary undertaking — replacing the obsolete Benny Pool.

As the plans now stand, the sports and recreation complex, whose main entrance will be on Monkland, will have a gymnasium, an indoor swimming pool with six 25-metre lanes, an adjacent outdoor deck, and multi-functional rooms.

However, there will be no on-site parking, although Applebaum has previously said there is enough space on the street. The borough used the outdoor Benny Pool last summer for the last time, and there will be no pool there this summer.

Patrick McDonnall, another NDG resident, who said he has supported a sports and recreation complex for NDG for the last decade, added, "What I don't understand, and I still don't understand to this day, is why there are people who in their right mind would be against this."

From Feb. 10 to 13, NDG residents were invited to participate in a referendum register on a $9.2 million loan the borough is taking out to pay for the complex. Although participation was insufficient to trigger a referendum, a lobby of opponents worked hard in an attempt to get out the more than 2,000 signatures which would have been necessary.

Geographic location: NDG, Monkland, Montreal

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