Few people could argue that the town’s proposal to build a $27 million aquatic and wellness center isn’t a darned impressive plan.
(Some will, of course, but those residents typically fall into the POTE category – People Opposed to Everything. In a specific subset of POTE we could henceforth refer to the naysayers as AW – All Wet.)
Earlier this month the municipality unveiled a feasibility study on the construction and operation of the long-debated facility at two open houses and attendees seemed receptive and excited about the work already done.
The scope of the project – which includes a lane pool, leisure pool, lazy river, indoor walking track and numerous other amenities – is certainly grand.
And the funding model is practical to the point of being stupidly fabulous.
With provincial and federal grants, fundraising, corporate donations and accruing tax dollars from the Copper Mountain boundary extension the pool would be built without borrowing or raising taxes.
The center’s projected operating deficit is between $500,000 and $650,000 a year. Between the expanded industrial taxes that flow from Copper Mountain and the savings that would incur from closing the fifty-year-old outdoor Centennial pool, keeping the facility afloat will cost taxpayers between $50 and $100 annually.
Given that Princeton has one of the lowest tax rates of comparable communities in the Southern Interior that is hardly a burdensome suggestion.
This is a no-brainer of a good deal for everyone.
The benefits of an indoor-pool-plus to the town are indisputable. It would offer improved quality of life, health, economic spin offs and someplace to go in the winter that doesn’t smell like a hockey arena.
With all that said it’s true there are many unanswered questions.
And that’s okay.
We are talking, after all, about a feasibility study not a signed contract. The entire project hinges on $22 million of grants from the provincial and federal governments.
Without that funding the pool is dead in the water and we aren’t likely to have an indication on whether it will be forthcoming until March of next year.
So once again it is time to sit back and wait on Princeton’s pool dreams.
Relax, imagine yourself drifting down the lazy river if you can’t control yourself, but start your Christmas shopping, take in a Posse game, read a book.
For now it is out of our hands.
Maybe we will get a pool. Maybe we won’t. What’s indisputable is that the study and the proposal represent years of hard work, strategy and expertise just to get us this far.
And that gets a 10.