Smitherman to improve beaches, teach kids to swim

Mayoral candidate George Smitherman decided to put coasting and journeying aside yesterday to actually say something about his campaign.

If elected mayor, he said standing on the Woodbine Beach boardwalk, he would improve Toronto beaches and make sure city kids are given the opportunity to learn how to swim.

"We want to make our beach front amenities better, we want to improve our transportation capacity to get people from the northern parts of the city to the beach front, we want to work to improve the quality of the water."

No comment on whether improving beach amenities means offering more than one place to eat.

"I'm going to put resources behind recreation," Smitherman said, in regards to his "passport to swim" program. According to the plan, Toronto kids would have been given the opportunity to learn how to swim by completion of Grade 5. However, according to spokesman Stefan Baranski, Smitherman doesn't necessarily want all lesson costs to be covered by the city.

"The city, school board, non-profit swim clubs and parents currently fund swimming programs with considerable overlap, duplication and overhead costs," Baranski said.

Don't worry, I'm confused too.

The financing plan for the program will be released along with Smitherman's entire platform at some later date.

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