What could be more loathsome than a second drowning, councillor asks

YMCApoolHEATHER BOA Bullet News GODERICH – Goderich’s town council needs more information about the events surrounding a drowning at the pool in a town-owned recreation centre in order to make informed decisions moving forward, says a councillor.

“Due diligence by the council elected to protect the interests of the town is impossible in an informational void,” said Coun. Jim Donnelly, who spoke on the subject for more than 10 minutes at last night’s council meeting.

On Jan. 19, Sarah Henry-Mills, 14, was pulled unresponsive from the deep end of the pool during a birthday party at the town-owned Maitland Recreation Centre in which the YMCA is contracted to run programs. The teen, from Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, died in London’s Children’s Hospital three days later.

“This is not a quest for information to satisfy a curious public or the media. It is information that is the foundation for action by a council to protect public safety at the pool,” he said.

He said it had been 53 days since the drowning and council has not been informed about how the incident occurred and remedial steps have been taken to ensure it won’t happen again, even though the town has a 10-year contract with the YMCA that lays out a reporting process, including agreement on an annual plan. The contract, which is expected to be renewed for an additional five years effective April 1, 2013, also includes the provision for oversight by a recreation board that “monitors and ensures” YMCA compliance with the plan.

He said information has not come from the YMCA despite a contractual right to the information at all times.

He said the town had an obligation to ensure safety when the pool reopened after the teenager drowned.

“What could be more loathsome than a second drowning and at the inquest this question is asked: ‘Following the first drowning, what precautions did you take to prevent a recurrence’ and our answer must be ‘none’?” Donnelly said.

He asked that his prepared comments be included as an addendum to the meeting minutes and be posted on the town’s website. Click here to read Coun. Jim Donnelly submission.

A member of the YMCA board attended the council meeting, but was not called upon to answer questions.

The town’s administrator / clerk, Larry McCabe, said the town has not received any information in writing from the YMCA. He said he has not been directed by council to seek a legal opinion.

Council is requesting its solicitor attend the next council meeting.

Written by on March 12, 2013 in Goderich - No comments

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