The decision to leave the St. Davids Pool closed this summer was made by the Town’s emergency control group, based on cost.
Interim operations director Kevin Turcotte says once the group began talking about how to proceed when the Province allowed pools to reopen, they decided to focus on the Memorial Park pool and the splash pad in Virgil.
Operating the Memorial Park pool “has been consistent year after year,” he says, and is more reliable than the St. Davids facility, which is expected to be replaced for the 2021 summer.
He can’t be sure how the pool in the St. Davids Lions park has overwintered until the filtration system is turned on, and the pool is filled with water. By that point, a lot of money will have been wasted if it can’t be opened without expensive repairs, Turcotte explained.
If it weren’t for costs relating to the pandemic, “I would open it and deal with mechanical problems, if there are any.”
Turcotte hasn’t heard whether a grant to help finance a new pool in St. Davids has been approved, but said Friday he is hoping for an answer “any day,” likely sometime this summer.
He says, from his discussion with his contact from the Province, that he believes the grant applications are still being examined, and those that are successful will be forwarded to the federal government for a final decision.
He says he hasn’t any reason to think the number or financial level of successful grants will be reduced due to the high costs of programs to deal with COVID-19.
Although a fundraising committee has been struck, a meeting has not yet been held.
There was one on the calendar for May, Turcotte says, but he decided to hold off until he knows the result of the grant application, which could kick-start the fundraising campaign.
He’s also being “sensitive to the climate of the town,” he added, explaining that he doesn’t want to be asking for money when some businesses and individuals are struggling financially during the pandemic.
With a donation from the St. Davids Lions Club, the proceeds from the Town’s golf tournament, which included a donation from the St. Davids Ratepayers Association, and a $5,000 donation from St. Davids resident Andy Panko, the fund was at about $45,000 in February.
The pool is expected to cost $5 million, and the Town has asked for $4.74 million in the infrastructure grant application. The 2020 budget includes $100,000 for the pool.
The fundraising campaign goal has not been set, and will depend on the grant and other factors, Turcotte says.