Hopes high for Pla­cen­tia aquatic cen­tre

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

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.

Fundrais­ing goals

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.

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

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.

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