Hopes high for Placentia aquatic centre
Speaking with Placentia Lions Club treasurer Gerry Hynes and Placentia Aquatic Centre committee chairman Don Horlick, it is not hard to see the passion they have for bringing a pool to their community.
Their eyes light up, and excitement raises in their voices when they speak on the project.
Whether it’s talking about the different options to connect the planned wading pool to the main tank, or how the stadium will connect to the proposed pool, both are committed to making the dream a reality.
Both have been are the forefront of the project since talks began in 2009.
Right now, the plan is simple. It is to build an aquatic centre for the community and surrounding area onto the Unity Parc Arena in Placentia.
“We are going on the premise that it is going to be attached to the current arena and we are going to have a recreation complex,” said Horlick.
This proposed state-of-the-art facility would have six lanes, a wading pool, a common area and elevator access to the adjacent arena.
One part of this is already nearing the completion stage.
“We just f inished the room upstairs that overlooks the rink, and on the other side, will overlook the pool,” said Hynes.
The “warm room” was a 50-50 project between the Lions Club and the Town of Placentia.
The estimated cost for the project was some $3 million in 2010. However, Horlick and Hynes know that due to inflation the cost could rise as the project nears the application phase.
“We’re just getting our ducks lined up,” said Horlick. “Feasibility study, business plan, operations plan. Once we have all of that now, we’re heading into fundraising.”
The club of 14 members has paid some $50,000 into the various studies for the project.
A big hurdle was getting the town on board to operate the facility.
That’s because “this thing is going to operating at a loss,” said Horlick.
The other members of the pool committee are Chris Newhook and Jamie Neville.
The committee and the Lions Club have set what they feel is a realistic goal for fundraising — $500,000.
“We set that as a target, not saying that it won’t move, it’s just that when we do up our charts and graphs, we can put a number on it and everyone can see where it goes,” said Hynes.
The backbone of the group’s fundraising efforts are going to be a monthly 50/50 draw, with other events coming as needed.
“We have it set up. It’s going to run all year long,” said Hynes.
Cards are in stores around the community at this present time, and the first draw will be in January.
“What we’re trying to do is have something consistent for the life of the fundraising,” said Hynes. “We’ll know every month that there is money being generated.”
Along with the fundraising, there are other avenues being explored by the pool committee.
“We’re working on a grant with the town for a municipal grant from the provincial government,” said Horlick.
This grant would be an 80/20 division of the costs.
Horlick said the group is in the process of developing sponsorship packages to hand out to various companies.
“One of the concepts is to put something on the wall of the pool,” he said.
One option is to approach Husky Energy. The company is set to begin construction on the White Rose Extension project in nearby Argentia and could be looking to make inroads into the community.
“There are individuals and companies there,” said Horlick.
Having a swimming pool will serve as an economic catalyst for the community.
Whether it is outside clubs coming in for swim meets or outside schools coming in for a day of swimming, people will be spending money at the various stores in the community.
“It also attracts young families,” said Horlick.
Placentia Lions Club treasurer Gerry Hynes (left) and aquatic centre chairman Don Horlick hold up artist renditions of the planned swimming pool attached to the Unity Parc Arena.