The Mount Forest pool in need of replacement. Supplied photo

Council has approved the work plan for the new, outdoor, community pool in Mount Forest.

The work plan details all of the major steps to go from this point in developing the pool all the way to actually opening the pool, projected to happen in the summer of 2025.

The current cost is estimated at $5.3 million, but a staff report notes that could change.

The project is scheduled to go to tender in the spring of 2024.

A total of $576,000 has already been approved. The current focus of the project is on the facility design and determining the final cost.

According to the work plan, in the 2024 budget, council can choose whether or not to allocate the money that would allow the project to move forward at that point.

One possibility being considered is a fundraising campaign to help offset the cost of the pool.

Coun. Steve McCabe supports the project but is struck by the large cost of it all.

“I’m alright with the next steps. And the report, that’s great. But 5.3 million is still a lot of money. In the last two years we’ve had a push back, infrastructure projects, because we can’t afford them. And these are infrastructure projects like bridges, roads,” McCabe said.

McCabe considered the justification of that massive price tag. 

“So I guess I’d say it goes back, and I know we’ve chatted about this before, is how do we justify spending $5.3 million on this pool?” McCabe said.

The fear is that spending a lot on the pool will mean that other critical infrastructure projects will be pushed back.

“Which I agree something has to be replaced for that. And then does that further push our budget back on infrastructure pieces that we have to maintain and replace and in some places build new?” McCabe said.

Coun. Penny Renken agreed with McCabe’s concern related to pricing. But she also values the impact of a pool on the community.

“I agree with councillor McCabe about the fiscal responsibility. However, I think the pool is an extremely important part of our community, not only for the people that we are expecting to have coming into our township, they’re going to need to have the activity,” Renken said.

Not only does the pool bring people together, it brings people from outside Mount Forest into the community, she said.

“I also think it’s good for any meets that they may have with bringing children or adults from other communities into our community as well for tourism,” Renken said.

Coun. Sherry Burke is a big supporter of the project.

“As chair of the aquatics fundraising committee, happy to see that we’re going to be moving forward,” Burke said.

To Burke, people in Mount Forest are used to having that pool.

“I think it ‘s really important that we do move forward with the Mount Forest pool. It’s a service that residents have come to expect and enjoy,” Burke said.

“And also believe it’s a matter of public safety. Every child should have the opportunity to learn how to swim.”

Jesse Gault is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

By Jesse Gault, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jan 17, 2023 at 12:35

This item reprinted with permission from   GuelphToday.com   Guelph, Ontario

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