News Views: The deep end

Construction of an indoor pool in Pitt Meadows was last studied in 2004.

The City of Pitt Meadows is going to re-study building an indoor pool.

It last studied the issue in 2004. The same consultant it has just hired to conduct the study also did the previous one.

Back then, Brian Johnston of PERC found the population of Pitt Meadows wasn’t great enough to afford or necessitate the construction of a new indoor pool – not until the combined population of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows surpassed 100,000, expected by around 2011.

One is intended to replace the aging outdoor pools in Hammond and Harris Road Park.

The population of Pitt Meadows has since grown by about 1,500. Maple Ridge has grown a bit more, especially north and east.

The cost of a new pool in the original study was marked at $9.5 million to $13.3 million, the latter including an eight- to 10-lane, 25-metre competition pool.

The more expensive option would cost about $4 million more today.

Pitt Meadows has been putting money away in reserves, but there is not yet enough to build a new pool without grants or a loan. Or help from Maple Ridge?

The new pool study will cost the city $2,000 – a drop in the deep end. But is it necessary?

The only reason members of council have given for this new study is that residents keep telling them they want a new pool.

Who, and how many?

Surely none of the 1,300 who last summer signed a petition requesting that council try to create a municipal budget without a residential tax increase, which it will do in 2014.

The pool study is swimming in the same direction.

At best, it will allow council to make an informed and prudent decision regarding a new pool.

At worst, it is an inexpensive public relations exercise.

Or maybe it will find that now is a good time to construct an $18-million indoor pool.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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