No one needed a psychic hotline to predict that the front page story in last week’s Spotlight regarding the indoor pool would set the digital boards ablaze with controversy about the proposed initiative.
Likewise, even a cracked crystal ball would have forecasted that some of the discussion would be downright irresponsible.
It is one thing to opine on swimming pools.
Do you swim?
Would you use an indoor pool?
Are you, generally, in favor of aquatic sports?
However to embroil elaborate scenarios about a pool proposal that no one has seen, including speculations served as fact about potential operating costs, tax increases and impacts to the community, serves no one.
At the very least it muddies the waters.
Mayor Frank Armitage released to The Spotlight that the feasibility study and plan is based on a $27 million construction, with a total of $22 million dollars coming from the provincial and federal governments.
That funding is not yet secured – it’s the ask.
And it was satisfying to get that information, because for months the pool has only been publicly discussed in the most generic terms.
The fact that two previous runs at an indoor pool were sunk by referendum ensures the issue has baggage, emotion, and lots of interest.
It would be ideal for council to release the feasibility study in its entirety, so that at least if people are going to debate it, they are dealing with credible information.
In the absence of facts, people go with fabrication.
However with the proposal still mostly under wraps it’s imperative to remember that the public just doesn’t know enough to make an informed opinion – in favor or against.
Two pool proposals have already nosedived, but that ought to have no bearing on the merits of this particular plan.
To suggest otherwise is akin to saying: I tried on two pairs of jeans. Neither fit. Jeans are bad.
Digging for this pool started years ago, when council – led by Armitage – worked extremely hard to secure the boundary extension that would flow Copper Mountain mine taxes into town coffers.
It was a long, complicated and sometimes delicate process getting both the mine and the province on board and the result was an annual $350,000 increase to municipal revenues.
It was an enormous win and the present council never quite got the backslapping it deserved.
It was always understood that the end goal was using those dollars to help fund the pool initiative.
The town then secured the donation of a prime piece of real estate – the former Overwaitea property on Bridge Street – as a close-to-cost-free location.
The consultants who have worked with the town over the past year specialize in building pools in small markets, and their expertise goes beyond construction, to include operational strategies for sustainability.
So let’s wait to hear what they have to say.
Despite some negativity, there were an overwhelming number of positive and hopeful pro-pool comments on social media in the past week.
And there were those people who wisely said: Interesting. I would like to hear more before making a decision.
It is ridiculous to completely dismiss or wholeheartedly embraces a plan no one has even read.