Club makes pitch for pool

Greater Vernon’s aquatic centre is undergoing repairs but there is a call for another pool in town.

Greater Vernon’s aquatic centre is undergoing repairs but there is a call for another pool in town.

The Vernon Kokanee Swim Club is floating the concept of a 53-metre pool with eight to 10 lanes that could be used by both its members and the public.

“The City of Vernon, District of Coldstream and Areas B and C are seeing some conflict in pool time between public use and the VKSC and a larger pool would alleviate this concern,” said Nives Sullivan, VKSC president, in a letter to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, which oversees recreation issues.

The current lap pool is 25 metres with eight lanes.

GVAC recently decided to spend $1.7 million on repairs to the Vernon Recreation Complex, with most of the work at the pool, which was renovated and expanded in 1993.

Besides alleviating demands between the club and the public, Sullivan says a new facility would help attract swim meets, which can bring up to 600 athletes per event.

“This provides direct economic impact to the local community,” said Sullivan, who doesn’t establish a timeline for possibly having a second pool in place.

In promoting a second pool, the club points to GVAC’s 2004 recreation master plan, which indicated the need for a new pool within 10 years.

“The VKSC is ready and willing to be part of the solution to the North Okanagan’s pool and recreation complex decisions and would welcome the opportunity to be directly involved in issues related to this now and in the future,” said Sullivan.

A recent GVAC study states Greater Vernon’s population may not require a second aquatic centre until 2026 or 2030.

“You can’t fund it if you don’t have a big enough tax base,” said director Rob Sawatzky.

“It’s not just building them but operating them.”

Director Catherine Lord doesn’t believe a new pool can proceed now.

“Given these economic times, it wouldn’t be feasible,” she said, adding that there are also calls for a new sports complex, museum and art gallery.

“There is so much pressure. It makes it difficult for the board to pull things together.”

GVAC will pursue a needs assessment and feasibility study for a new aquatics/recreation complex by 2015.