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Kinsmen Pool nominated for Kraft Heinz Project Play

By Celina Ip

Pembroke's Kinsmen Pool (424 Herbert St.)  is among the 863 nominees for this year's Kraft Heinz Project Play for a chance to win $250,000 in renovations.

Pembroke's Kinsmen Pool (424 Herbert St.) is among the 863 nominees for this year's Kraft Heinz Project Play for a chance to win $250,000 in renovations.

Pembroke’s Kinsmen Pool has been nominated for a $250,000 makeover through Kraft Heinz Project Play.


Kraft Heinz Project Play began in 2009 with the goal to help build a better future for Canadians by building better places to play in communities across the country.

Over the past eight years, the project has contributed over $2.2 million dollars to 68 communities across Canada through their annual contest.

The contest welcomes communities across Canada to nominate one of their local recreational facilities that is in need of an upgrade.

Through online votes received by members of the public, a grand prize winner receives $250,000 and three other finalists each receive $20,000.

This year’s contest has 863 nominees vying for the grand prize, including one local nominee – Kinsmen Pool in Pembroke.

Over the past 55 years, since Kinsmen Pool opened in 1962, three generations of people have been swimming and learning how to swim at the facility. The pool has been used for recreational activities such as informal swimming, pool parties, exercises, educational purposes; swimming lessons and lifeguard training are two examples.

Unfortunately, the aged pool is now in dire need of improvements and probable replacement.

The City of Pembroke hired HP Engineering to do a full structural review of the facility which revealed that the facility would need to be rehabilitated at a cost of more than $700,000. The engineers also strongly suggested that work would have to be completed sooner rather than later. Council was offered the options to either rehabilitate the facility or to tear it down and rebuild the existing building at a cost of $2.5 million.

Recently, after hearing bout the Kraft Heinz Project Play, local resident Chris Pleau was struck with the idea to nominate the pool for the contest as a way of saving it from its demise.

Being a recreational facility that’s well-used by residents across the region, including generations of his own family, Pleau said that the choice was easy.

“Almost every resident in Pembroke, Laurentian Valley, Whitewater, Killaloe Hagarty Richards, North Algona Wilberforce, Bonnechere Valley, Pikwàkanagàn & Western Pontiac has had some form of relationship with Kinsmen Pool,” said Pleau. “My parents swam there, my sister and I learned to swim there (she swam competitively as well), and my kids learned to swim there and still often attend parties and public swims at the facility.”

After deciding to nominate the pool, Pleau approached his friend Matt LeMay and Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay to offer their support and assist him with the process.

Mike LeMay and all City staff jumped on board and to offer assistance while Matt LeMay created a video to go with the nomination package.

“We know the pool is aging, it's really at a stage now where we do need help because the pool is essential for the community – not only for the children, but for the seniors and those who have physical disabilities. So we want to see it continue and it would be very nice if we could get the $250,000,” said Mike LeMay.

According to Chris, their goal is to first try to qualify for the final four in the Kraft Heinz Project Play contest. If they are successful in reaching the top four, there will be a two-day Internet voting period to determine the winner.

“The top vote getter in the final round receives a grand prize of $250,000. An award of that nature would result in urgent upgrades to the pool, and hopefully continue the discussion of replacing the pool down the road with a new facility, contingent on Federal and Provincial funding,” said Pleau.

In the interim, the public is invited to review and share (over Facebook and Twitter) the Kinsmen Pool nomination at:

The top four will be announced on the website on Sept. 4 and public voting for the grand prize winner will begin Sept. 8. 

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