By Stephen Vance, Staff
The Municipality of Meaford is exploring the potential for a two and a half year pilot project that would see the lease of an indoor pool facility from a local condominium board at a cost of nearly $100,000 per year.
At 11,000 residents, Meaford is far too small to support an indoor swimming facility, however staff presented a plan to council that would see the municipality lease an indoor swimming pool located at the Brookside Condominiums on Victoria Street.
“In March 2015, staff were made aware of a potential lease opportunity of an indoor swimming pool facility located within the Municipality of Meaford,” Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture Dan Buttineau, told council in a budget memo. “Municipal staff have been exploring this opportunity with E&H for the potential lease opportunity of the condominium’s indoor swimming pool facility in order to expand aquatic programming. This would provide year-round swimming lessons, and other year-round aquatic opportunities for residents of the Municipality of Meaford.”
Buttineau told council that the annual costs including the lease, insurance, and staffing would amount to nearly $100,000 per year.
“The proposed 2016 municipal tax supported operating budget subsidy to assume management and operations of the indoor swimming pool facility through public-private partnership (based on a proposed September 2016 start up) is projected to be $54,500. An additional one-time capital investment of $15,000 dollars is also required in 2016 to provide necessary identification and directional signage for the indoor swimming pool facility, grading of gravel public parking area, fencing to delineate and control ingress/egress access points to the swimming pool facility and minor upgrades to ensure facilities are in compliance with applicable Occupational Health & Safety Act and associated legislation governing public facilities and spaces,” Buttineau told council. “The proposed annual tax-supported operating subsidy for a full year operation of said indoor swimming pool facility through public-private partnership is projected to be $99,937 in 2017 and $97,287 in 2018.”
The proposal would see the indoor pool facility utilized for 10 months of the year, and the Blue Dolphin outdoor pool would be in use for two months, July and August.
“Based on public feedback, the outdoor Blue Dolphin Pool facility and associated aquatic program will continue to operate during the summer months of July and August. The proposed September 2016 start up of the indoor swimming pool facility will have no impact on revenues or expenditures related to the outdoor Blue Dolphin Pool facility operations in 2016,” said Buttineau. “It is anticipated, however, that cost savings to the Blue Dolphin Pool operation will be realized in 2017 and future operating budgets through non-operation of the outdoor pool facility during the month of June in each respective year.”
The condominium pool is smaller than a regulation swimming pool typically be found at public facilities, however staff believes it to be adequate for providing swimming lessons to local children, and for adult leisure swimming.
“The pool itself is a smaller pool facility. We’re not looking at lane-swimming as an option. We’re looking at some fitness programs, or some aqua-aerobics programs, lessons, and general leisure swims,” Buttineau told council.
Council voted in favour of allowing staff to continue to explore the potential for a partnership with the condominium board, and staff will report back to council at a future meeting.
The condominium board has verbally confirmed their interest in receiving a formal proposal submission from the municipality for use of their indoor swimming pool facility that they can present to the membership of Brookside Condominium Association for consideration and support. The condominium board is meeting the week of October 26 to review lease options and will advise municipal staff shortly thereafter.