St. Davids residents may not be getting a new pool anytime soon, but at least fundraising committee members can now investigate repairing it to ensure it stays open, until money is available to replace it.
At Monday’s council meeting, the mandate of the pool fundraising committee was changed to allow members to look at repairing as well as replacing the ageing structure.
A design for a new pool that comes with a $5 million price tag was approved in 2019, but since then, the town has gone through rounds of funding applications with no luck, and without a grant from other levels of government, committee members haven’t started on raising its portion of the cost. They have received donations of about $52,000 to date.
On Monday, council reaffirmed its commitment to replacing or repairing the St. Davids pool, and added that the committee could discuss all possibilities to keep the pool open and in proper repair.
Coun. Gary Burroughs, a member of the pool committee, said he’s glad council is giving the committee clarity. “Several of us on the committee thought we could find a solution to the repair issue,” he said.
Coun. Allan Bisback said he was initially hesitant about supporting the idea of looking at repairing the existing facility.
“We all expressed our support for a new pool in St. Davids three years ago,” he said. But then the pandemic came along, and with it the inability to raise funds.
He said he’d be disappointed if the focus becomes the repair of the pool only, “because I actually think one day, maybe two years, three or four years from today, the money will start flowing from upper levels of government.” Unfortunately it is not flowing right now, he added, but cautioned the committee not to lose track of the possibility of a new pool — that there could be two tracks, one to consider repairs, and one to focus on replacement.
Lord Mayor Betty Disero reminded councillors of other municipalities using newer solutions for facilities, such as containers rather than new buildings. “They look amazing,” and they’re a third of the cost, she said, again urging councillors to check out projects in Welland and St. Catharines that have gone that route.