New pool plan floated to Alberni city council

A new pool in Alberni would cost $17 million, but without federal/provincial help the project might take 10 years to break ground.

A schematic of the recommended option for a new Echo Aquatic Centre is being presented to Port Alberni City Council at their meeting on Monday

A schematic of the recommended option for a new Echo Aquatic Centre is being presented to Port Alberni City Council at their meeting on Monday

Alberni’s new Echo Aquatic Centre will cost $17 million to build but it may take 10 years to break ground, a report to city council showed.

The project is outlined in the Echo Aquatic Centre Feasibility final report, which is on the agenda for discussion at Monday’s city council meeting.

Council okayed the $24,000 feasibility study in March with funds from its land sale reserve fund.

Assembled by Venture Pacific Construction Management, the study was completed over a six-month period. It encapsulates comments made at public meetings about the new pool idea, existing pool assessment, demographic information and cost projections.

The study outlines six options for a new facility costing between $15 million to $18 million, and range from renovating the existing building to building a new facility and using the old one for other purposes.

Study proponents recommend option six (pictured) as the preferred option, the study notes.

The option costs $17 million, and the plan includes a six-lane lap pool, leisure pool, waterslides, new change rooms, as well as office and fitness space.

The old building would be renovated and used for fitness, office and multipurpose spaces.

The new facility would draw more and could increase revenue by 40 per cent. While the new facility would require additional maintenance and staff, the additional revenue would offset it, the report noted.

Land has been identified behind the old pool where the new facility could be built and an option with a package of amenities has been recommended.

But a lack of substantial federal or provincial grants to help underwrite the issue may stall the project for another 10 years, the report noted.

And the city doesn’t have enough money to float the project either.

“Even if we directed all of the funds from the casino ($500,000), Community Forest (estimated $500,000) and Parks and Recreation Capital reserve for 10 years we would at best accumulate a total of approximately $10 million.”

City staff believe the project to be similar to the development of the Alberni Valley Multiplex, which took 10 years to complete from a similar stage in the planning process.

The report recommends council receive the report and direct staff to canvass funding options available.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com