Keremeos online pool petition making a splash

A local Keremeos resident hast started an online petition to see if there is enough interest in opening an indoor pool.

A local resident has started an online petition to see if there is enough interest in Keremeos having an indoor aquatics centre.

Tara Bowie

Review Staff

A Keremeos resident is floating the idea of the village constructing and operating an indoor pool.

Jennifer Wollman posted an online petition, on the www.thepetitionsite.com, last week to try and find out if there was support from the community for an indoor aquatics centre.

In just a few days more than 180 people signed the petition.

“I’ve always wanted there to be a pool here in the winter time. I just had to book my kids into swimming lessons in Penticton because they’re too small for the pool here and my daughter thinks the water is too cold,” she said.

The mother of three children aged six, four and one years old, said she’s heard mostly positive feedback about the idea of an indoor pool, but she knows there are obstacles.

The indoor pool debate has been going on for more than 10 years. In 2005, a referendum to build an aquatics centre including hot tub and leisure area was voted down.

“I wasn’t here at that time but I think there was a lot of misinformation floating around. People thought it was going to be an olympic size pool and there was going to be a wave pool. That was all false,” she said.

At this point Wollman admits she doesn’t know if a pool would actually be financially viable in the Lower Similkameen, but thought revisiting a discussion around it was a good idea.

If she receives enough support from residents with the petition she plans to approach Keremeos council and the recreation commission.

Karl Donoghue, facility manager at the Similkameen Recreation Centre, which oversees the outdoor pool said it is at the end of its life.

“It’s 35 years old. It’s outside. We have to baby it,” he said.

At this point there is not a capital reserve fund in place to replace the pool when it finally ages out. There is some money in reserves to deal with buying bigger ticket items needed to keep it running longer such as a filter system or water heater.

Donoghue said he was aware of the petition online and said every year he has members of the public approach him about the feasibility of an indoor pool.

“I do take these back to the recreation commission and I will take this back but a few comments are one thing. To do this you have to have the whole community behind it,” he said.

Online it states that the goal is to get 400 supporters but Wollman said she’s still trying to figure out how many she should get before taking it to councils.

“I just want to start the discussion and see if it’s something we can do,” she said.

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