Another city budget season has arrived and still council is talking about replacement of the 50-year-old Echo Pool with little action to show for the past year.
The issue has moved ahead, however glacially, and we agree with the position director of community services Theresa Kingston put forward this week: any pool replacement plan must include the entire region as part of the discussion.
The city should not have to take on this project alone, if it is to benefit the region as a whole.
The idea is not without precedent.
Two decades ago, volunteers from minor hockey and figure skating saw that the old ice arena was failing, and envisioned a replacement.
It wasn’t a quick process: replacing the rink, which became the Alberni Valley Multiplex, took 12 years and two referendum campaigns from concept to opening day. Taxpayers across the Alberni Valley will continue paying a parcel tax for the multiplex until 2020.
Once the funding was in place, however, it took just two years before the multiplex was built and opened.
Councillor Ron Paulson, who was part of the multiplex effort, said it takes ‘pretty passionate, dedicated people’ to put this type of fundraising society forward.
The multiplex was supported by the community not only financially but through sweat equity and in-kind donations as well.
Something like that could fly for the pool—if people truly want to see a new one in Port Alberni.
The pool replacement project needs the will of the people. Are the people willing?
— Alberni Valley News