Not the time for a new pool

There’s no question the Vernon Kokanee Swim Club is considering what’s best for its members, sport and the community as a whole

There’s no question the Vernon Kokanee Swim Club is considering what’s best for its members, sport and the community as a whole.

A new 53-metre pool with eight to 10 lanes would provide an ideal setting for young athletes, possibly propelling them towards the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. There would also be an opportunity to host more swim meets, bolstering Vernon’s reputation for sports tourism.

However, beyond periods when both the club and recreational swimmers are competing for space, recreation officials state only half of the capacity of the current pool area is used overall.

A recent study also indicates the local population isn’t growing enough to require a second aquatic centre until 2026 or 2030. Demographics not only provide users but, more importantly, the tax base necessary to pay for such facilities.

It should also be pointed out that it was in 1993 that millions of dollars were invested in renovating and expanding the pool into the attraction we now enjoy. In comparison, other amenities have been allowed to lag and that means there are competing demands on taxpayers’ dollars for a sports complex, museum and art gallery, not to mention critical infrastructure like roads and water.

A new aquatic centre isn’t going to occur over night but if there is a positive, it is the swim club’s willingness to work with local officials and the community to plan for the eventuality of a new facility.

And given that the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee may launch a needs assessment by 2015, it’s good to know one partner will be at the table.

—The Morning Star