Echo Pool has been around for 51 years, and is the only pool that age that has not been replaced in B.C. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO

Port Alberni, ACRD pass on gov’t recreation funding over aquatic centre

‘More public engagement needed’

More public engagement will have to take place before a regional aquatic centre comes to the Alberni Valley. That was the word coming from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board at their Dec. 12 meeting.

There has been plenty of talk in recent years about a replacement for the 1967 Echo Aquatic Centre, which would be jointly funded by the City of Port Alberni and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. In June of this year, elected officials from the city, the ACRD and Tseshaht First Nation met to start a conversation about the potential of a sub-regional Alberni Valley aquatic centre. The groups decided that discussion would reconvene after the fall election. The ACRD board officially asked staff to work with the city on developing a regional action plan in August.

READ: Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District takes the lead in talks about aquatic centre

READ: ‘Too soon’ to talk pool replacement in ACRD

In September of this year, the provincial and federal governments announced a joint funded grant opportunity for communities looking to invest in local or regional recreation infrastructure. There is $134.84 million of total available funds through the program, and the application deadline is Jan. 23, 2019.

Although the city and ACRD agree that this grant would be suitable for replacement of the aquatic centre, neither will be submitting an application for the pool. Both groups have decided that it is “too premature” to consider submitting an application, as there has not been enough public engagement.

Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions, who is also a director on the ACRD board, said during a board meeting last Wednesday that the city is “completely supportive” of the regional district’s desire to go slowly.

“We want to work with the regional district on it and we want to make sure that all of the directors have enough time and proper process to engage their residents,” she said. “We have a lot more work to do as a city, as well. We are excited to move forward with this process, whatever it ends up looking like.”

The ACRD will move ahead with a facilitated meeting in order to evaluate the appetite for a sub-regional aquatic service, as well as specific parameters for governance and funding for that service.

Moving ahead with this project will require “significant staff and elected official time and participation,” according to a report from environmental services manager Rob Williams, and additional resources will probably need to be hired. ACRD staff agreed to bring back a proposed budget for the 2019 work plan. Costs for the facilitated governance and funding session are estimated to be $3,000, and the ACRD board has recommended that the city cover these costs, since they have already budgeted funds for a pool.

elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs rally for the win with five goals in third period

Port Alberni team has won two games in a row at home

Forestry watchdog warned B.C. government about Bamfield Road in 2008

Ombudsman’s specific concerns re-surface in wake of fatal bus crash

Swedish visitors celebrate steam donkey at McLean Mill—without the steam

Volunteers celebrate 90th birthday of mill’s vintage steam donkey

Bus crash survivor petitions Justin Trudeau to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

Most Read