The mayor of Maple Ridge isn’t sure she wants to jump into the deep end and tell staff to get going on building an $11-million outdoor pool.
Council is to make its final decision Tuesday whether to spend that amount in order to provide a quick replacement for when the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre closes for renovations in January.
Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read said Monday she doesn’t favour the outdoor pool project, after earlier voting it forward to get more information.
But she is willing to support the outdoor pool next to the Maple Ridge Lawn Bowling Club and Thomas Haney secondary as long as consultation begins on a new, indoor aquatic centre.
“I’m always willing to hear the position of my colleagues. As the outdoor pool evolved, I think it’s become a really great project, although the price tag has evolved with it. Now we’re looking at a pretty expensive build for an outdoor pool.”
But the city needs an indoor pool, she added.
And she doesn’t want an outdoor pool to drain away the cash needed for an indoor pool.
“I’m not on the side necessarily for the outdoor pool,” although she’ll listen to other councillors.
“My biggest objective is to make sure we move forward on the indoor pool.”
Coun. Gordy Robson wanted the new pool ready by May, but doubts that will happen. It’s going to be difficult to vote for it if the project won’t be completed for when it’s needed, he said.
An Oct. 2 city news release cites a staff report that says the earliest a pool could be done would be May 11 using one type of pool liner and June 13 if a concrete pool tank is built.
That would also entail using temporary change rooms to be followed by a permanent change room and administration building.
Further delays could also stall opening day.
The report notes that this schedule requires an almost immediate start to ensure that geotechnical and structural work is done to support the structure.
Cost for the project could varies between $8.6 million and $14.4 million. Initially, an outdoor pool was projected to cost $6 million.
If council decides to proceed with the outdoor pool, taxpayers will have the opportunity to approve the borrowing of money for the project through a formal ‘assent of electors’ petition process.
Rival online petitions have broken out between those favouring and those opposing an outdoor pool.