The desire for a new pool or an expanded aquatic facility is high in the city of Vernon, according to a feasibility study.
More than 80 per cent of survey respondents within the Greater Vernon area said there is a need to enhance the pool.
“The survey results seem to reinforce what we were hearing,” director of Recreation Services Doug Ross said. “We are encouraged to see that the results are coming from a wide cross section of the community with support coming from a mix of people that have used facilities recently and some that haven’t.”
Nearly half of the feedback supporting a new or bigger facility, including a 50-metre pool, came from those who use the facilities for leisure, family or casual swimming.
“We have done a significant amount of public engagement and stakeholder consultation during this study,” Ross said.
A feasibility study was established as a result of the 2018 Recreation Master Plan which identified a need for new indoor recreation opportunities. Surveys, with a one-time access code, were mailed to 5,000 random households within Vernon, the District of Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C.
“The number of completed surveys from each area and the age demographics of respondents indicate the survey results represent a fairly accurate cross-section of the Greater Vernon area, when compared to data from the 2016 Statistics Canada Census,” Ross said.
Following the completion of the study, a report will come before council recommending whether it’s best to build new spaces at one time, or tackle the project in phases over several years.
The report will also assist Greater Vernon elected officials identify a balance between what the community wants and needs and what it can afford.
Survey results show an understanding that with new facilities would come a taxation increase.
Of those in favour of, or not sure of, developing new facilities, 37 per cent indicated they would support a tax increase up to $100 per year.
Fifteen per cent would support an increase of $150 a year and 20 per cent would support $200.
“This is a significant investment for our communities and the goal of the study is to find an indoor facility mix that meets the current and future needs of a growing community, while also having the opportunity to attract new residents and visitors to the Greater Vernon area,” Ross said.