By Adam Prudhomme
Greater Napanee council voted to move to the final phase of a market research study to determine whether or not building a pool would be feasible — but don’t expect any shovels to break ground anytime soon.
At Tuesday’s meeting council voted unanimously to extend the committee appointments of the Pool Task Force and to authorize the group to negotiate with LeisurePlan International Inc. the scope, terms and conditions for the final phase of the market research feasibility study to an upset limit of $15,000. The money would be financed through existing development charges.
“For this term of council I’ve been patiently waiting for direction on this and I really appreciate the pool committee doing the work they have,” said councillor Shaune Lucas.
“But I don’t think that at the start of the mandate of the pool committee that they might have perceived that it would go passed the mandate of this council and into the next council,” Lucas continued.
“This will be an election issue and it will not be the mandate of this council to put a shovel in the ground,” he added. “Anything that we recommend on the council will not be binding on the next council… good luck to the next council.”
General Manager of Infrastructure for the town, Peter Dafoe, expressed optimism that council could have the final dollar and cents costs to build the pool, as well as possible partnership opportunities in place by early 2018. The results of the final phase are expected in the fall of 2017.
“We’ve spent a lot of money on this to date,” said deputy mayor Marg Isbester. “I believe (carrying on with the study) is the only way we can carry it forward and give it a fair chance and really find out from experts, not from people who want to know, who think they know or read it on Facebook. I would really like to see facts and figures.”
Both councillors Roger Cole and Max Kaiser agreed that although they weren’t keen on spending the additional $15,000, it was necessary to get a definitive answer.
“People don’t want another study, this isn’t another study,” said Kaiser. “This is the next phase in a grand plan and we did the phased approach so that we could stop anytime it said ‘no’, but every phase has said ‘continue’ so we continue.”
Council Carol Harvey proposed the idea of skipping the final phase and meeting directly with a member of Belleville’s YMCA to discuss a partnership and determine whether or not a pool would be feasible in Napanee. Dafoe acknowledged he was in contact with representatives from the YMCA already, but noted they are just one of several partner possibilities and that they would still need the final numbers from the study.