The Town of Bonnyville hosted their annual Open House on Tuesday evening, which had better than expected attendance, due largely in-part to the demand to discuss the swimming pool. The pool has been making noise on social media lately, which prompted Town Council to announce that a community meeting to discuss the pool would be in the near future. However, before the Town had a chance to set a meeting and advertise the date, many community members attended the Open House wanting to speak of the pool’s state. In true nature of the Open House, Mayor of Bonnyville Gene Sobolewski agreed to a discussion on the pool following the Open House.
“My intention was to advertise out and give everybody lots of notice,” the Mayor explains why more members of the community may not have known about the meeting, “however, for whatever reason people had interrupted that the Open House was for the pool. I had suspected, from social media, that there were going to be more people here to talk about pool.”
The meeting brought up many community member concerns:
- Pool Closures – Planned and unexpected closures due to maintenance
- Annual two-week shut down for scheduled maintenance in September
- Additional two-month shut down in the summer for grouting; which has been allocated in the 2016 Intern Budget. Grouting is expected to extend the life by 15 years. There is hope a pool specialist can assess the pool’s condition at this time.
- Individual Pool Closures – Tot pool and hot tub often closed
- The Tot Pool has been closed for an extended period of time due to a leak
- Lack of communication; front staff do not always know how long a pool closure will last, which leaves pool goers frustrated
- Due to random closures many members have lost faith in the pool and will travel to neighbouring communities; rather than discover that a certain part of the facility is unusable.
- Having the Tot Pool closed has negatively affected small children’s swimming lessons
- Heating – Temperatures in all pools never seem to be consistent
- At times the large pool is very cold and then the next day it will be too warm for athletic swimmers
- The Hot Tub is sometimes luke warm at most; not very comforting
- The heating system is over 30 years old, still uses turn-style mechanisms which can be difficult to pinpoint temperatures. There is no way to set for overnight, so it is turned on in the morning to warm the pool.
- Fixing/upgrading the heating system has been requested as a top priority from community members
- Patching versus Building – Is it cost efficient to continually patch and repair issues or would it be better to build a new pool entirely
- Many question at what point does the Town pull the trigger and stop patching and repairing to opt for a new build. A consensus of community members, in the room, felt it was time to cut the Town’s losses and focus on raising funds for a new pool, rather than for repairs
Idea sharing and Input Should the Town Decided on a New Build
***Note: these are ideas only and community input. There have been no plans to move forward with any of the below stated ideas.
- Phase II of Centennial Centre – is it happening and what’s the potential
- Can a pool be attached to the C2 or built in the general area?
- Are there plans to extend the C2 to offer more community services; such as the pool & library?
- The Town gave members a look at the land surrounding the C2 and ideas for possible High School builds in the new Eastgate area; as well as, the possibility of moving Peter Kushner Ball Diamonds further east to allow for a pool, add-ons to the C2
- Regional Pool – Build a waterpark in a central location to draw entire population and capital sources
- Councillor Jim Cheverie expressed his vision for a regional waterpark. Which would house a large attraction style waterpark facility. The idea would be to locate it in Ardmore or Fort Kent so it would be central to Cold Lake, Bonnyville, Glendon, and MD residents.
- The main reason for a regional waterpark is all surrounding communities, as well as, the MD of Bonnyville, would be able to contribute financially to the facility.
- There was concern expressed regarding the school kids’ lessons and how they would get to and from pool
Stemming from the meeting, one community member, Sheena Oman, has started a yet-to-be-named committee with the purpose of collecting feedback and designing an action plan for the next steps in a new build. The Town of Bonnyville will designate one Councillor to join the committee as a voice of Town Council. Oman plans to approach the MD of Bonnyville to open dialogue and potentially have a Councillor join the committee.
The Town foresees at least 90% of the estimated $30 millions needs to come from private-sector fundraising, and provincial/federal grants. By forming a committee, there will be better chances of securing the funds and moving forward.
The committee is setting up an email so community members will be able to get more information and give feedback. The committee will also set a date for its inaugural meeting. LCN has been told the committee will inform us when the meeting will take place and it will be advertised for the community to attend.