Let’s make one thing clear: I would love an indoor pool in Middlesex Centre! Whether it was located in Komoka, Ilderton, Delaware, or even Bryanston, an indoor pool in the Municipality would be a fantastic addition. I get that the Wellness Centre doesn’t contain any services that some individuals want to utilise. I would say, though, that the YMCA does have subsidies available, so you should ask them for more information if you’re interested in some of the services they provide but cannot afford the full rate.
Additionally, my spouse and I are fortunate enough to be able to pay for private lessons at a private, in-ground pool each summer, but certainly I recognize not every family can afford the time or money to do this for their children.
Speaking of the costs related to an indoor pool specifically, I have been gathering information ever since Dave Pinheiro’s request on the Kilworth Neighbours Facebook group for a facility similar to Strathroy’s. I also heard about this several times during last fall’s election campaign. Here are the concerns I have:
- An inground, indoor pool would cost between $9M and $13M to build, as per South Huron’s recent study
- The Strathroy Aquatic Park cost $2.9M to build; this does not include engineering, architecture, or project management costs
- The Strathroy Aquatic Park costs over $300,000 per season to operate (page 4), roughly 2/3 of which comes from property tax
- The St. Mary’s Aquatic Centre (an indoor pool) costs roughly $1M per year to operate
- The St. Mary’s Aquatic Centre’s revenue is around $400,000 per year; so it loses about $600,000 overall (as per their Director, whom Scott Mairs spoke with recently on my behalf)
- Besides all that, you would still need to pay to use the facility
- Assuming a $10M construction/design/engineering (CDE) cost, amortized over 25 years, and also assuming all properties paid the same amount towards the CDE cost, that would add an additional $55.09 per year in property taxes
- Assuming a $1M operating cost without any revenue – because I can’t guess how often it’ll be used or if we could sign up any memberships like St. Mary’s has – and an equal load across all properties, we could all look at paying an additional $137.74 per year in property taxes
- For argument’s sake, since we don’t know the final construction cost, assume you would be paying $300 over 25 years while the construction fees are paid off.
So, is that worth it to you? I suspect some will say yes, versus the prospect of building your own pool at an upfront cost of at least $5,000 for a high quality, above ground pool. I would probably say the same, personally. That said:
- There was a feasibility study completed in conjunction with options for renovating or building a new arena in Ilderton last year. The general guideline used is that an indoor pool is only feasible when a population reaches 40,000. We won’t be hitting 40,000 anytime soon, so the feasibility study discounted that as a possibility.
- An indoor pool was also assessed during the Wellness Centre’s planning.
- You will still have to pay to use the facility, and
- There is no guarantee it would be built in Komoka/Kilworth. It could be built in Delaware, Denfield, Poplar Hill, Ilderton, Arva, Birr, Bryanston, or even Melrose.
- Okay, it’s unlikely it would be built somewhere other than Delaware, Komoka/Kilworth or Ilderton, but I think you get the point! 🙂
Anyway, all that to say that if a sufficient number of residents understand the full implications of building a pool, especially the capital, operating, and ongoing equipment replacement costs over a period of time, I could personally get behind this. But that will involve polling a fairly large sample of the municipality and being able to provide those individuals with real costs, or at least very close to real costs. You can see above I’m making a few guesses for illustrative purposes.
So, while we debate the willingness for residents to pay for such a structure, and the impact it would have on our municipal debt, London has four options to choose from all year round, as well as several more during the summer, and the facility in St. Mary’s!