Council to look at all pool options

January 28, 2015

Town Council 


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Supporters for a new pool facility in Saugeen Shores filled the Council Chambers at Monday night's council meeting.

Dave Shemilt, who presented Monday night's deputation and is spokesperson for the 'New Pool Group', is also a former Olympic swimmer and wants to see a positive direction from Council. 

Dave Shemilt

"We have to address the first question before we explore whether or not to renovate or build new," said Shemilt.  "Are we committed to Aquatics in Saugeen Shores?"

The 'Group' that has been lobbying for a new facility wants to see a firm plan in place in the event that grant money is made available by upper tiers of government.  It would consist of a recreation centre with a pool as the focal point.  

The existing Centennial pool located at the local high school is now 40 years old and, according to many, in dire need of many upgrades that will cost more than $4M .  On the other hand, a new aquatic centre being explored is anticipated to cost in the range of $12 - $14M.

"It is unfortunate that the new councilors are in a situation which they must familiarize themselves quickly, with the state of aquatics," said Shemilt, "but this was an election issue and some campaigned on a platform of taking action. We appreciate there are other equally important decisions to make, and scarce resources to allocate."

Shemilt also accused Council of a lack of leadership when it comes to the pool facility.  "The existing facility has been neglected and allowed to deteriorate even more ... we are now faced with the effects of a long term lack of planning and indecision, lack of a long term plan."

The start of a program eight years ago was "great" said Shemilt. "The Town recruited a highly qualified person to manage the new facility and add to programs and increase participation.  That person relocated to the area and participation has doubled, new programs have been added, grants increased, lives improved and athlete improved to where they are now representing Saugeen Shores on the world stage."




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Deputy Mayor, Luke Charbonneau, said that he wants to see what some of the new numbers look like now that it is 2015 and that everything will have to be considered.

Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau
Mayor Mike Smith said that he appreciates there are those who want an aquatic facility but that there are also other obligations financially that will have to be met by the town.  "In any event, it is best that this be discussed at this [Council] table rather than by a committee as it affects everyone."                                            

In the end, a motion made by Charbonneau and seconded by Councilor John Rich, was passed to have Town staff review past studies and bring forward the options available as quickly as possible and that a decision should be made by August 1st on how best to proceed.


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Wednesday, January 28, 2015