Summerland council set on repairing current pool while searching for future options

Back to square one for pool

Summerland council gave the green light to fix the roof at the aquatics and fitness centre, while exploring further costs for building repairs and continuing to express interest in grants for a new pool, in the wake of a failed community referendum.

At the start of November, 58 per cent of the community voted against the district borrowing $50 million for the construction of a new facility.

District staff advised at Tuesday's meeting that $110,000 should be allocated from the general fund capital works reserve to conduct roof repairs for the current building.

At 47 years old, the existing Summerland Aquatic & Fitness Centre is at the end of its serviceable life, according to the 2018 Facility Condition Assessment Report.

“I think we need to protect the asset that we have until we decide what we’re doing,” Coun. Janet Peake said.

Summerland council unanimously approved the general fund capital works reserve to pay for the repairs and have staff prepare a bylaw amendment for the addition of the project.

Council debated the next steps for the recreation centre project, with some disagreeing over whether the vote from the community means residents don’t want to spend money on any new facilities.

Coun. Erin Trainer proposed an idea to set up a new committee for the centre.

“The community might be in a better position to offer their thoughts on future recreation in Summerland. So I think that that might be useful going forward,” she added.

Other councillors felt differently, stating that the current parks and recreation committee would be able to handle the discussion.

Coun. Marty Van Alphen countered that the recreation committee may have a biased opinion and it could be good to have a wider spread of voices.

In the end, council decided on the decision to get the parks committee's feedback and decide if a new ad-hoc committee was needed.

Coun. Doug Patan brought forward the idea to get staff to cost out repairs again for the existing pool, ensuring that fixes could be in place to avoid a “major catastrophe.”

Council directed staff to be directed to report back on costs for mechanical upgrades for consideration during the 2024 budget deliberations.

The idea is for the district to wait for the results of the Green & Inclusive Community Building grant of up to $25 million to construct a net-zero carbon building, and decide if the community would be up for a pool for lesser cost.

“I think we're looking at maintenance [and] maintaining [the current pool] and then if we do not get the grant, then it's going to be next steps,” Coun. Marty Van Alphen said.

“We'll start at 2024 budget implications, we'll start looking at if we know what the costs of HVAC or boilers may be. At least we'll have an idea and if the grant doesn't come forward then I guess we're gonna have to make a decision if we're gonna have a pool or fix what we have."

“We know $50 million was too much,” Mayor Doug Holmes added.

“But the question of how much is the community willing and comfortable borrowing, that's the million dollar question that we don't know and I've been asked that many times.”

Council also approved for the mayor to send a letter to the federal minister responsible for the GCIB grant confirming the district’s interest in the application to the program.

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