The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) is finally beginning a feasibility study for a new pool.
The ACRD, along with the City of Port Alberni, issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in June of this year for the report and received four responses. Based on a “comprehensive review,” said ACRD CAO Daniel Sailland, staff recommended awarding the contract to HCMA Architecture and Design at a cost of $92,010. This falls within the ACRD’s $100,000 budget, said Sailland.
The ACRD board of directors approved the choice during a meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 7.
The feasibility study will involve outreach, research and design for the future governance, guidance and planning for an indoor aquatic facility. A similar study was conducted more than 10 years ago (2011) by the City of Port Alberni, but ACRD staff say many of the details, scope, and deliverables of the 2011 study are no longer relevant. Back in 2011, the cost of a new pool was estimated at $12-18 million.
“These studies do have a shelf life,” said Sailland.
Sailland also recommends that the process of the feasibility study be overseen by an advisory committee, comprised of ACRD elected officials, City of Port Alberni officials and representatives from Hupacasath and Tseshaht First Nations.
“There is a tremendous amount of outreach that is meant to be a part of this initiative,” said Sailland.
The majority of the funding for the study comes from the City of Port Alberni (almost $70,000), with additional contributions from Cherry Creek, Beaufort, Beaver Creek and Sproat Lake.
Sproat Lake director Penny Cote wasn’t happy to see Sproat Lake is contributing more than the other areas ($15,732). But Sailland said the governance model of the pool, including funding, is still to be determined.
The project will start this winter, and the final report is expected to come out at the end of 2023.