Local News

Financial challenge ahead for new pool

Township of Wellington North Council appear committed to wanting to build a new outdoor pool in Mount Forest. The challenge now turns to how to pay for it.
The pool came up at the last council meeting, when Mayor Andy Lennox said a resident had asked if the rehabilitation costs for the old pool had been stacked up against the now-higher cost of building a new outdoor pool.
Lennox said he found it “very useful” to review the reports from 2016.
“I think there’s a lot of information in there that arms us well with regards to the cost assessment,” he said. “A new pool is very close to cost of rehabilitating the old.”
He added the location for the new pool is more ideal, away from the highway.
“A new pool is desired result for all of council,” he said.
However, talk then turned to economics.
Lennox said estimated project costs have escalated from an initial $3.1 million to between $5.5 and $6 million.
“That does create some anxiety,” he said. “How do we finance this?”
“I think we all agree it’s the right solution,” Lennox said, “but the challenge of how to pay for it is a significant challenge. It could be a four per cent increase on property tax before we take care of anything else; to me, that’s way out of line.”
Councilor Sherry Burke, who is on the ad-hoc Aquatics Committee, said, “I’m glad everybody had an opportunity to review and come to the realization it’s not feasible to refurbish the pool.”
She went on, “I think there are potentially other alternatives. We don’t know it has to be made out of concrete. It’s probably another two years before we have any real conceptual design.”
Lennox reiterated, “It’s a huge bill. It’s a major challenge we can’t shy away from, and it needs to be part of our discussions as we move forward. This is a huge, huge issue.”
Wellington North Chief Administrative Officer Mike Givens said, “I do think there are specific questions council needs to address.”
As such, Givens suggested council consider keeping pool discussions as a standing item on the meeting agenda.
“Conversation’s great,” he said, “but decisions have to be made to go forward. If council’s agreeable these decisions need to happen at council, it should be a standing item at council.”