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Summerland to go to referendum on new pool

Borrowing of up to $50 million will be considered in fall
The existing Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre was opened in 1976. The building, now 47 years old, is at the end of its serviceable life. A referendum is planned for the borrowing of up to $50 million to build a new facility. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland council will hold a referendum on a proposed recreation and aquatic centre for the community.

Council made the decision at the May 15 council meeting. The referendum is expected to be conducted in the fall, to determine public support for the replacement of the existing facility.

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The existing Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre, on Kelly Avenue, is 47 years old and is at the end of its serviceable life.

A site for a new facility has been selected on Jubilee Road East, in front of the Summerland Arena and Summerland Curling Club. The new facility is proposed to be 60 per cent larger than the existing facility.

The referendum will have a total borrowing ceiling to be set at $50 million.

At present, the municipality is awaiting on a response for its grant application to the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Program. This grant application is for $25 million, which would then reduce the amount of borrowing required.

Graham Statt, chief administrative officer for Summerland, said the costs involved in operating the existing facility are significant.

“It is in desperate need of major repairs that are extremely expensive,” he said of the aging building.

He added that if a new facility is not constructed, there will be high costs associated with the existing facility, he said. These could include the costs of decommissioning the facility in the future.

Statt said the municipality will offer tours of the existing facility, to show the damages and challenges within this building.

Coun. Erin Trainer said $50 million is a lot of money, but the borrowing will be a community decision.

“Our community needs to ask itself what does it value,” she said.

The decision to go to a referendum on the project received unanimous council support.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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