Around 75 residents and local politicians showed up Thursday evening to hear about possible upgrades to the Sam Ketcham Pool.
A draft proposal from Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants (PERC) features a new six-lane pool built in the existing pool’s spot, along with a new leisure pool boasting a fountain, slide, lazy river, and warmer temperature that would replace the existing hot tub and kids pool.
In addition, a second floor would be added over the change room area for an expanded exercise facility.
The new design would replace a lap pool that’s on “borrowed time,” and increase the facility’s ability to offer fun and means for therapy, PERC owner Brian Johnston told the audience. “We looked at five options and feel this one is the best of solutions.”
The present pool was built in 1981, parts of it are at the end of its life, other parts such as the new change rooms built in 2007, are in good shape.
“The lap pool is leaking and losing water. This upgrade would offer 50 years of life,” Johnston said.
Estimated costs for the upgrade are $11.3 million. If the community could raise $3.3 million, then the remaining $8 million would result in a 39 per cent tax increase for recreation services.
Tax payers would see an additional $2.25 per $100,000 of assessment for $50,000 in annual net operating costs for the upgraded facility and another $30.40 per $100,000 of assessment for capital debt servicing.
Presently taxpayers in the city and outlying fringe areas pay $87 per $100,000 for recreation services.
Johnston said the increase would bring Williams Lake up to an average level of funding recreation in comparison to other communities in B.C.
It is the second time PERC has been in town for public consultation.
Last time the company was in Williams Lake, Johnston and architect Bruce Carscadden talked with 250 people.
They heard that no pool is not an option, that keeping what exists is not good enough, but being without a pool for a year while a new one is being built, is a concern.
They also heard that parking is an issue and if the complex is expanded, it will take up more of the parking area.
The new design would only extend to the side and front of the area alongside the fire lane, and would not take up parking.
After the presentation, members of the public asked questions and heard the construction time frame would be two years because it would occur in phases.
There would be a time period without a lap pool, however the leisure pool could accommodate some lane swimming.
Johnston also said if the community only wants to replace the lap pool with a new one in the exact spot, that would cost around $2 million.
Peter Bowman asked how much a brand new facility would cost and heard the price tag for that would be $17.5 million.
That option would see a new pool built where the parking lot is. The old pool would remain open, as long as it was still functioning, until the new one was ready to open.
Elke Reiner said she wouldn’t be in favour of the proposal because she doesn’t feel it takes into account economic growth.
She would like to see a larger facility and asked why a 50 metre pool wasn’t being proposed.
Johnston responded that size of pool is designed for communities with 350,000 people or more.
Residents are encouraged to view the draft plan and respond with suggestions by Nov. 2. Both the city and the Cariboo Regional District have placed the plan on their websites. The city at http://www.williamslake.ca/newpool.html and the CRD at cariboo.bc.ca.
The information posted includes diagrams and sketches, technical information, and public feedback emerging from the first round of consultation, as well as potential cost implications and recommendations from the City of Williams lake/Central Cariboo Joint Committee’s consultant.
Feedback can be submitted via e-mail to email@example.com.