Echo Centre on Wallace Street in Port Alberni includes Echo Pool, the community centre, Alberni Valley Museum and the VIRL Port Alberni library.

Talks continue over new aquatic centre for Alberni Valley

Joint ACRD, City of Port Alberni committee asks for staff report on next steps

Does the Alberni Valley need a new aquatic centre? The City of Port Alberni and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District continue to talk about whether there is a need for a new regional facility, and how much it would cost.

Elected and appointed officials from the city, ACRD and First Nations asked last week for a report from staff on the next steps the regional group needs to take, ACRD chief administrative officer Douglas Holmes said.

Echo Aquatic Centre on Wallace Street in Port Alberni was built in 1967 and while it continues to serve the community’s needs, the age of the facility means community leaders need to decide what will happen when the pool is too old to function.

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

READ: ACRD aquatic centre presentation and background

“The next thing to happen is for a staff report to talk about what the time frame might be and what the process would be,” Holmes said. “There has to be a good discussion with the community overall and to hear from the community what the needs are.”

The City of Port Alberni has done studies and had public discussion in the past about replacing Echo Aquatic Centre. The city spent $24,000 in 2011 on a six-month feasibility study, which presented three options to the public.

READ: Port Alberni council ponders new pool

The joint city/ ACRD aquatic centre committee hasn’t met in more than a year, Holmes said. The municipal election and subsequent by-election in Cherry Creek and Beaufort areas delayed orientation for new council members, he added.

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

The aquatic centre discussion that took place last week was supposed to be a formal ACRD committee-of-the-whole meeting, but not enough members were there to form a quorum, so no date was set to receive the staff report. That will probably happen in January or February, Holmes said.

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