Port Alberni’s community pool is never as popular as when budget talks turn to replacing the aging aquatic centre.
The pool is 54 years old, well past its best-before date. The City of Port Alberni has spent money and time patching it up while the debate continues about whether we need or want a new pool. Residents who use the pool—and those who would use it if it were a brand new facility—deserve a say on the matter before the facility suffers a catastrophic failure and the choice is taken away.
The city wouldn’t be in this position if it had been more serious about a replacement in the first place. Several different councils have had more than a decade to put away money for the aquatic centre’s replacement, however there is little to show for it. In the meantime, replacement costs keep increasing by the millions.
The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is finally on board with cost sharing; this partnership should have happened years ago. People from all around the Alberni Valley and even from west coast communities within the ACRD use the pool, so it should have been a no-brainer.
We understand with the coronavirus pandemic hitting at budget time last year why the pool might have slipped from the radar. Now that life seems to be opening up a bit more, governments are throwing money at projects to increase quality of life, encourage tourism and give residents a reason to stay within their own communities. If the city and ACRD had been close to shovel ready with a replacement plan, perhaps some of that money could have been directed at a pool replacement.
The city owes it to residents to either show that they are serious about replacing the pool, or come clean and admit it is not a priority.
— Alberni Valley News