Planning continues for aquatic facility
by Sandy Lindsay

March 28, 2017

Town Council

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Pool planning is continuing in Saugeen Shores with the idea being that a solid, shovel-ready plan is in place should government grant funding become available.

While it appears that a location decision may have been made, following Council's approval in June, 2015, for a new two-tank aquatic facility attached to the Plex as the preferred long-term option, there are those who are not in favour of the plan.

Town staff has been working with Perkins + Will Architectural Design Firm to prepare reference drawings to test the site of the Plex. The firm gathered information from staff and from previous Centennial Phase Reports that included community input. The architects also toured recently constructed aquatic facilities in the GTA with staff to get a sense of the needs for aquatics in Saugeen Shores.

What the architects have come up with is a 2,250 sq. metre foot print. Staff also requested that the plan include the following amenities:

  • Two tank design
  •  Recreation slide with splash down pool
  •  Universal change rooms
  •  Sufficient storage
  •  Walking track
  •  Easy flow for patrons between the Plex and the Pool area
  •  High functioning lifeguard office space
  •  Meeting space
  •  Office allotment
  •  Multi-use space
  •  Viewing Area
  •  Streetscape

When it comes to location, in 2010, consultants Monteith Brown’s 'Next Wave' report identified the preferred location being on the East side of the Plex.  Perkins + Will however, located the current reference drawings on the West side of the Plex based on the existing building features and the functionality of the layout.

According to the report submitted at Monday night's, March 17th Council meeting, Perkins +Will recommends that the west side of the Plex will be more conducive for the following reasons:

"a) This design allows for a combined street scape. This will assist with inside traffic flow of participants and spectators of all recreation areas. This helps unify the two buildings into a true community centre. You will also notice that the pool is in-line with the municipal offices. This creates a ‘courtyard/drop off’ area and helps unify the whole building.

b) This design allows for 2 drop off areas and allows for better flow of outside and inside traffic. There is the main drop off area in front and an Athlete drop off in rear for arena/track and aquatic programs

c) The aquatic facility on the West side of the building will showcase the new facility as a recreational hub.

d) Provides for future expansion on the East side.

e) Less disruptive to operations occurring at the municipal office during construction and during future operating hours. "

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Another area of concern, if the plan goes through, is parking since the proposed siting would take up most of the current parking lot on the west side of the building.

According to the report to Council, reconfiguration of existing parking will need to be considered along with looking at "additional parking facilities".  Consideration will also have to be given to active transportation designs to ensure cyclists have appropriate and close parking amenities.

Councilor Don Matheson said that the Plex location is not a good choice.  "For anyone who has been to a Winterhawks (WOAA Sr. Men's) hockey game or tournaments such as the Silver Stick, knows that there isn't enough parking now.  Hockey fans and out of town visitors are having to park out on the surrounding streets.  If this plan goes ahead, it will eliminate the existing parking that we do have."

"Also," he added, "if this site is chosen at the Plex it will eliminate the students who use the existing pool at the high school as part of their physical education program and also for the Breakers Swim Team.  If a new pool facility is built, it should be near the high school where day-time use is primarily by students. Cameron Park baseball diamond is right there and we have discussed amalgamating the town's ball diamonds that are in need of upgrades anyway, so there's space for an aquatic facility there.  The Plex is not a good idea."

Matheson brought a Notice of Motion forward that recommends Council direct staff to consider the alternate location of Cameron Park and to also take another look at optional structural designs being used today. Further research is also needed to consider the water table, relocation of the BMX track and the hydro corridor.

To view the planned layout, Click Here

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017