Grand Bank pool open­ing date up in the air this sum­mer and be­yond

New ‘com­plex­i­ties’ caus­ing de­lay, says mayor

The Southern Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - BY PAUL HERRIDGE

The open­ing of the Grand Bank swim­ming pool this year ap­pears to be on shaky ground.

Dur­ing coun­cil’s reg­u­lar meet­ing Tues­day, Mar­sha Gaulton, Leanne Bun­gay and Sharon Pat­ten made a pre­sen­ta­tion seek­ing an up­date on the pool’s sta­tus.

Gaulton said the trio was rep­re­sent­ing the in­ter­ests of youth in the Grand Bank and For­tune area – in par­tic­u­lar, the South­ern Sharks Swim­ming Club.

The town se­cured fed­eral and provin­cial fund­ing to make nec­es­sary re­pairs to keep the fa­cil­ity open long-term last fall, and al­lo­cated its own por­tion for the project in this year’s bud­get, a com­bined fig­ure of about $300,000.

Ev­ery­thing was pro­gress­ing on sched­ule un­til the re­cent ten­der call, said Mayor Rex Matthews.

“I can­not give you an an­swer for 2017 or 2018 or be­yond, and no­body around this coun­cil ta­ble can,” the mayor said, adding there are now a lot of “com­plex­i­ties” in­volved in the mat­ter.

Matthews said the ten­der bid for the pool came in at roughly $ 550,000, sig­nif­i­cantly more than the fund­ing al­lo­cated for im­prove­ments.

A new anal­y­sis of the work re­quired at the fa­cil­ity now puts the cost of up­grades at al­most $700,000, he said.

Matthews said the town’s en­gi­neer­ing com­pany was re­spon­si­ble for the in­cor­rect cost eval­u­a­tion.

Com­pli­cat­ing the mat­ter fur­ther is the province’s new for­mula for cost- shar­ing recre­ation projects, re­cently an­nounced in the 2017 bud­get. Based on the new for­mula, the town’s por­tion for the over­age would now be 40 per cent in­stead of the pre­vi­ous 10 per cent.

Coun­cil is wait­ing for in­for­ma­tion on how much a tem­po­rary fix would cost to open the pool this sum­mer.

Matthews said a de­ci­sion would have to be made once coun­cil knows that amount. If it is up­wards of $30,000 to $40,000, the mayor said he would have to vote against it, call­ing it “dead money.”

Matthews said coun­cil is fixed on get­ting the pool open, but ac­knowl­edged there “might be some pain.”

Bun­gay said the three women have de­cided to en­roll their chil­dren in swim­ming in Marys­town this year if the Grand Bank pool doesn’t open. She said they will need to know the fate of the fa­cil­ity for this sea­son soon.

Matthews said Tues­day he hoped coun­cil could pro­vide an an­swer by early this week.

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