Town council is likely to make a splash with its recent announcement that an indoor pool – part of a health, wellness and aquatic center for the Town of Princeton – is definitely back on the table.
“We are looking to start firmly planning it in 2016,” Mayor Frank Armitage told the Spotlight last week.
Armitage said the question of funding for a pool was recently raised at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ conference for the first time. “We asked that the provincial government partner with us to secure the necessary funding from the federal and provincial governments to complete a project for Canada’s $150th birthday in 2017,” said Armitage. “The premier encouraged us and liked our approach. We feel very confident that there will be funding available.”
Armitage stressed that all plans for a wellness and aquatic center are, at this point, “conceptual in nature.”
A committee of councilors and interested parties will be struck early next year to look at fundraising and planning options, he said.
The idea of a pool will live or die on the issue of whether or not Princeton can afford to build and operate a facility.
“We hope we can put together a realistic plan with acceptable costs to them [the taxpayers]. Otherwise we will not pursue it.”
Princeton CAO Rick Zerr said the pool project needs to be broad in scope, and could incorporate community meeting spaces as well as an indoor walking track. “It isn’t just a pool, it’s got to be more than a pool. We want it to be a place that is used by the population on a daily basis.”
Twice in the past proposals to build an indoor pool in partnership with RDOS have been vetoed by referendums that included Area H voters.
“Well, it didn’t fly,” said Armitage.
The last plan to get dunked was for a $9 million indoor pool, in 2011. Armitage said it’s too early in this process to put a price tag, or assign a location for the facility but added the municipality has its eye already on potential sites.
Armitage said he anticipates solid community support for an aquatic center.
“Based on the number of people who approach me on an ongoing basis on this, I think there is a strong community desire to see this go ahead…There are just a lot of people excited about the idea.”