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Council asks for report on swimming pool costs

 Town council has asked for a report on what it would cost to build and maintain a new swimming pool in Amherstburg.

Councillor Molly Allaire asked for a report on a potential new swimming pool including the maintenance of a pool “so residents can be informed of it and council can make a decision on it.”

“It was a hot topic while campaigning and I think it’s very important to see how much it would cost our municipality especially with taxes increasing and everything going up,” said Allaire.

Councillor Don McArthur wanted clarity in the report, as he pointed out there is an indoor pool, a four-season pool, an outdoor pool and other factors to consider.

“The costs are going to depend on the location,” said McArthur. “It’s going to be a lot cheaper to put a pool at the Libro Centre, for example, because we could lower operating costs at the Libro as well as lower heating costs at the pool by doing smart stuff with energy. If you put it in Jack Purdie Park or in Centennial, you might not have the same benefits.”

The answer to the question of a pool is “many, many millions of dollars” particularly if the pool is indoors and “significant losses” on an annual basis, he added.

“Information is power but it’s an expensive proposition but it is an expensive proposition capital wise and operating wise,” said McArthur.

Director of recreation, parks and facilities Heidi Baillargeon agreed it is an expensive project, noting the town could achieve savings if it were put at the Libro Centre due to the geothermal system there that could be accessed along with other energy saving measures.

Councillor Peter Courtney said there was a plan to put a pool next to the arena with an overhang, combination with the geothermal system and a possible tie-in with locker rooms in the building. He said that was part of the $50 million “Great Places, Great Spaces” plan for the Libro Centre.

“I’d be interested in supporting it if they can leapfrog off of what homework was already done in putting it out there and using the geothermal heat to heat it in the cooler months,” said Courtney.

Allaire said she loved the idea of putting an outdoor pool at the Libro Centre due to the geothermal heating factors and wanted a high-level costing for such a project. She also wanted comparitors with other municipalities on maintenance costs.

The last outdoor pool Amherstburg had was the Lions Pool that was in the south end of H. Murray Smith Centennial Park. That was removed when 15 acres of land were sold to the Greater Essex County District School Board for the construction of North Star High School.

By Ron Giofu

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