EDITORIAL: Lower Similkameen not ready for indoor pool

Population not large enough to float operations of indoor pool

Here we are splish splashing around in another pool debate.

Just before the holidays regional district directors voted to apply for a grant to overhaul the outdoor pool in Keremeos. The grant is a generous one where the regional district would receive $515,000 for putting up just $139,000. If approved, the $139,000 would come from reserves and cost the taxpayer nothing extra on their tax bills.

There’s been some interest in building a new indoor pool from the community. From an online petition a few years ago to a survey completed by the rec commission.

Unfortunately nothing was done with the survey results – no updated plans or cost estimates sought out, no designs, not even a location was determined as there are some that would like to see the pool up on the rec centre property and others would like it left where it is.

Related: Former local politician questions renovating Keremeos outdoor pool

The rec commission provided the results of the survey to the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen and nothing has been done with them since then. Several times since the results regional directors questioned whether the community had a large enough tax base to build an indoor pool.

Related: Survey results support building indoor pool in Keremeos

Before a grant could be applied for many of those planning pieces would need to be decided, which costs money. True, there’s partial grants out there to get that work done – but to what end. If an indoor pool was to be built, a referendum would need to pass. At this point there doesn’t seem to be enough support for an indoor pool.

No service groups have stepped up to pledge money to the capital costs of building the pool, no one has come forward to spearhead the project, there’s no champion at the RDOS board or the commission for that matter that is throwing their weight behind the project. Without that kind of support the idea of an indoor pool will sink and money needed to overhaul the outdoor pool will be wasted on designs and drawings for a pool that will not go forward.

Related: Regional reps dive into overhauling outdoor pool in Keremeos

RDOS staff predict the upgrades to the outdoor pool could extend its life by 15 years. The Lower Similkameen continues to grow, adding more residents, each year. There are large housing plans in the works in the community. There is a potential in 10 or so years the area might be in a better position to afford an indoor pool. But then again it might not. The communities of Osoyoos, Oliver and the Osoyoos Indian Band have been working for several years to try and partner and build an indoor pool and that has gone nowhere. The town of Princeton has been talking about an indoor pool for more than a decade – still no pool. There might just be a reason and that might be that municipalities are not swimming in money.


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