WINDSOR, ONT. -- Approximately 30 people lined the Wyandotte Street sidewalk in front of Adie Knox Herman Recreation Centre Thursday, rallying against the potential draining of the pool.

“There’s money that needs to go into it right away,” says organizer Linda MacKenzie.

“But what I want to know is why have you (City of Windsor) let it get this far?”

MacKenzie is a spokesperson for “Friends of Adie Knox” who’s members have been fighting since 2019 to save the facilities various amenities from closing.

“Kudos to the hockey guys who got the rink saved. So now we’re focused on the pool,” she says.

MacKenzie says she has 4,000 signatures of support on a petition, names she collected right as the pandemic hit.

“We were all hunkered down in our homes and not being able to go anywhere,” says MacKenzie “And during that 18-month period city council, and city administration and the university were working towards getting this to happen. We didn’t know. We couldn’t do anything about it.”

On June 8 the city revealed a two-fold plan involving Adie Knox.

Mayor Drew Dilkens says the city has a tentative agreement with the University of Windsor, to move aquatic services on the west end over to the Lancer Centre; a sports facility being built at the St. Denis Centre.

The deal calls for the city to give the university a one-time payment of $3 million, plus $200,000 in yearly payments to make the Lancer Centre pool available to all city residents.

The city says 93 per cent of the aquatic programs offered at Adie Knox would be available at the Lancer Centre plus free parking for residents who pay for aquatic programming.

Adie Knox pool user Susan Gold Smith doesn’t believe the Lancer Centre will be able to accommodate all of their time slots.

A university professor herself, Gold Smith says she doesn’t want to go to campus for her aqua-fit classes.

“I don’t want to compete with students. They paid for that pool. They need the access to that pool.” Says Gold Smith “We don’t want to kick the students out of their pool, that’s nasty.”

Anne Beer, another participant in the protest says she wants to save the nearby pool she’s been using for over 30 years.

“Seems to me that pool downtown shouldn’t have been built,” Beer says. “We needed more little community pools.”

Ward two councillor Fabio Costante attended the rally to speak with constituents ahead of debate on the idea.

“I’m just trying to understand what the issues are” says Costante. “And see if there’s a way everything could be accommodated or at least the majority of things could be accommodated as best as possible.”

Costante says it’s not just the pool closure that is at issue.

If the pool closes, it would clear the way for the start of an ambitious $42 million renovation of the entire Adie Knox site.

Costante sees that proposal as a way of creating a west-end community hub which he believes is needed after the closure of a centre on College Avenue a few years ago.

“The idea of bringing it (a community centre) back, in this case, on steroids as I say, is very appealing because the services it has the potential to provide for the broad community.”

Windsor City Council will debate the Adie Knox pool closure at their next meeting on Monday June 21.