Andy Mitchell, former deputy warden of Peterborough County and mayor of  Selwyn Township, was not able to drum up much support for a discussion on a  proposal to build a new regional 50-metre swimming pool when he made a pitch  to Peterborough County council Wednesday.

“What I’m trying to do is to start a conversation in our community about what  is possible that we can do,” Mitchell, who is president of Swim Ontario, told  councillors.

There are no 50-metre pools in the Peterborough city and county, Durham  Region or in Eastern Ontario other than in Ottawa, he said in a  presentation.

“I would ask that you consider both in your roles here as a county  councillor, and I think, as importantly, as a township councillor, an approach  to trying to fill this gap.” 

Mitchell said, depending on plans for an aquatic facility, the cost could  fall between $40 million and $60 million.

But that’s why “any infrastructure investment plan must be accompanied by a  sound business plan that covers ongoing operations” and “working together with  provincial and federal governments is probably the best way to go,” he said.

Sheridan Graham, the county’s chief administrative officer, suggested staff  could undertake a review and look into partnerships with other jurisdictions for  a feasibility study and funding opportunities that could be included in the 2024  budget.

Trent Lakes Mayor Terry Lambshead made a motion to do that, but it was  defeated.

“We are challenged now to try to afford and maintain our existing  infrastructure,” said Joe Taylor, mayor of Otonabee-South Monaghan Township.

“It sounds like it would be a struggle to justify that (a new facility).”

Both Jim Whelan, deputy mayor of North Kawartha Township, and Lori Burtt,  deputy mayor of Asphodel-Norwood Township, said when they asked their  constituents what they would like to see built in their municipality during  recreational master plans and strategic plans, the number one answer was a  swimming pool.

But the cost was prohibitive.

“We couldn’t give it to them. We have to look at the private sector and  institutions,” said Burtt, “and perhaps beyond our Peterborough and county  borders.”

Mitchell agreed, saying it is important to find a broad group of partners  such as universities and health and wellness providers.

But Whelan said he thinks it is too early to do a feasibility study.

“There’s not enough information out there or not enough input to start  looking at this for our 2024 budget.”

Mitchell’s presentation was received by council for information.

Brendan  Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His  reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism  Initiative.

By Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 17, 2023 at 15:32

This item reprinted with permission from   The Peterborough Examiner   Peterborough, Ontario
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