The Echo 67 Aquatic Centre is nearing the end of its service life, and many people in Port Alberni want to see a new pool. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The Echo 67 Aquatic Centre is nearing the end of its service life, and many people in Port Alberni want to see a new pool. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

LETTER: Other pool projects pass us by

It has been just over 10 years since consultants completed a study…

To the Editor,

In an April 12 article, the AV News reported that Port Alberni had received a $2.5 million grant for its path project. The accomplishment was praised in a tweet from MLA Josie Osborne to which one resident tweeted back that the “District of Kent wins…” because they received $10 million for their new aquatic centre.

Our mayor promptly tweeted that the “ACRD was not in a position to apply with shovel ready aquatic centre project….”

Let’s remember that the city is the largest jurisdiction in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) with two directors and a weighted vote on certain matters.

It has been just over 10 years since consultants completed a study including community engagement, producing options for a new aquatic centre and detailed costs for the preferred option.

So why has nothing happened in the last 10 years to replace our pool?

Though mayor Sharie Minions and councillors Ron Paulson and Dan Washington have been on council for the last eight years, their focus has been elsewhere. Examples: a study to redevelop Johnston Road; effort to redevelop uptown Third Avenue; purchase of the Somass sawmill lands; and now a $7.2 million path along the railroad tracks.

After years of talk and treating the pool like a hot potato, the plan now is to start all over.

The ACRD will be conducting a new pool study for $100,000 and since, as stated earlier, the city is the largest jurisdiction, the city taxpayers’ portion is $70,000, and it will take a year to complete.

At 55 years old, Echo Pool is on borrowed time and may not stay operational until a new one is built. With the upcoming civic elections we all need to seriously consider which candidates have the focus to move a new aquatic centre forward to be “shovel ready” because clearly the current council does not.

Randy Fraser,

Port Alberni

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictRecreation