Leaking West Island community pool closes for the summer, saddening families and patrons

The closure of a community pool in Montreal's West Island has disappointed families and patrons who planned on spending the summer there.

Westpark Pool, in Dollard-des-Ormeaux (DDO), won't be opening for the summer after construction work revealed cracks in its concrete basin that would be too expensive and laborious to patch.

The closure took patrons by surprise, including Carol Campbell, a former volunteer board member who spent her summers at Westpark with her kids who participated in the pool's numerous programs: swim team, water polo, synchronized swimming.

"It was a community, it was our life," she said. "Every summer I couldn't wait to get to the pool and at the end I'd always go home crying on the last day and the kids would be jumping in the water until the last second.

"But we always knew the next season was going to come."

This year, that season won't come. And the pool's future is in doubt. A statement posted to the Westpark Pool Facebook page said the repairs needed are extensive — despite repairs conducted over the years on the pool's aging pumps and basin.

In the coming years, the DDO city council has signalled its intention to build a new pool where Westpark currently sits.

Regardless of whether that's necessary to maintain an open pool in the area, Campbell said the news saddens her.

She went by the pool and said she cried as she saw the grounds because she didn't know what it would look like when it eventually reopens.

"It's not going to be the same," she said.

Westpark Pool, seen here on Thursday, June 27, 2024, has a leaky basin and needs significant repairs.
Westpark Pool, seen here on Thursday, June 27, 2024, has a leaky basin and needs significant repairs. (CBC)

Campbell and many other Westpark patrons have turned to other nearby community pools. Campbell joined Glenmore Pool, located just west of Sources Boulevard, also in DDO.

Karen Hansen, the president of Glenmore Pool, said the pool has received 273 new members, but she isn't sure how many of them are from Westpark.

"When I was told that there was a possibility that they wouldn't open I said 'Glenmore can help you out,'" she said.

At Glenmore, families and adults get access to many of the same programs they did at Westpark.

But Glenmore is also aging. Many of the outdoor community pools in the West Island are decades old, with aging pump systems to match.

"Every year it's a wing and a prayer when we open," Hansen said. "You do the repairs that you have to do and see what you can afford."