Why there is no swim­ming pool planned for Clarenville’s fu­ture

Town coun­cil says it’s sim­ply not fea­si­ble

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Sports - BY MARK SQUIBB Mark.squibb@thep­acket.ca

Should ac­tive swim­mers and fam­i­lies in Clarenville ex­pect a pub­lic pool fa­cil­ity in the fu­ture?

The short an­swer, says town coun­cil, is no.

“It’s not even an ac­tive con­sid­er­a­tion right now,” Mayor Frazer Rus­sell told The Packet, who says that the idea has been floated in the past. Here’s why.

Rus­sell cites the af­ford­abil­ity of both open­ing and op­er­at­ing the fa­cil­ity, and says that the idea of a pub­lic pool fa­cil­ity is sim­ply not fea­si­ble.

“We don’t have the money, num­ber one, to buy it and build it, and num­ber two, to op­er­ate it.”

In 2014 the town did a con­cept plan and a fea­si­bil­ity study for a pool to be at­tached to the Eastlink Events Cen­tre.

Town CAO David Har­ris told The Packet that, ac­cord­ing to that fea­si­bil­ity study, it would cost roughly $9 mil­lion to con­struct a six-lane swim­ming pool fa­cil­ity at­tach­ment to the Eastlink Events Cen­tre (EEC).

Har­ris even added that this was the cheap­est op­tion, as the EEC and the pool could share ameni­ties.

Har­ris es­ti­mates that in 2018, the cost of con­struc­tion might be closer to $10 mil­lion, and says that with­out pro­vin­cial or fed­eral fund­ing, the town sim­ply can­not af­ford it.

“Gov­ern­ments years ago were pro­vid­ing fund­ing for pools and recreation cen­tres and what­not, but it seems that those fund­ing sources have dried up and the pri­or­i­ties have changed to clean drink­ing wa­ter and waste wa­ter treat­ment,” Har­ris ex­plained.

The study also pro­jected an op­er­at­ing cost of roughly $500,000 a year, ac­cord­ing to Har­ris, which he says is on aver­age with other pools around the prov­ince.

He added while coun­cil un­der­stands there is a de­sire for a pub­lic swim­ming pool fa­cil­ity, and that the town would love to be able to pro­vide the fa­cil­ity, with­out fund­ing it is not pos­si­ble.

“We’re in limbo wait­ing to see if there’s any fund­ing out there that would help us build it,” ex­plained Har­ris.

“We need govern­ment help, and right now govern­ment doesn’t have any fund­ing for it.” Har­ris says the fea­si­bil­ity study pro­jected an in­come of roughly $200,000 to $250,000 an­nu­ally, mean­ing that the town would be re­spon­si­ble be sub­si­diz­ing the pool at a cost of roughly $300,000 per year.

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