Crowsnest Pass Municipal Council received a presentation from local resident Tim Juhlin at the November 8th Governance and Priorities Committee meeting, asking that they consider striking a steering committee which would raise funds for the development of a recreational and cultural facility in the community which would incldue an indoor pool.
The committee would also oversee planning and development of the potential project, as well as maintenance and day-to-day operations of the facility over time.
Juhlin told Council that such a committee would require a close-working relationship with Council, Administration and the public, and that the steering committee should consist of at leats one representative of Council, one of Administration and several other interested and qualified parties.
“Through some creative thinking, we could start first by trying to bring us all into one agreement on what could happen,” said Juhlin.
“We could then develop a long-term strategy that would not overburden the tax base.”
As part of his presentation, Juhlin also gave an overview of what such a facility could include in its services, such as recreational opportunities, retail space, a conference centre, and other services.
He said the project should be largely community-driven, with a great deal of public input into what the facility should look like, where it should be located, and what it should include.
Getting multiple generations involved in the planning of the design and location would be the first step and would ensure a facility which meets the best interests and desires of the entire community, Juhlin said.
He said it was important to get Council’s endorsement on establishing the committee, so that there is one unified organization working on the project, instead of multiple fractured groups working separately.
“We’re too small of a community to have competition going on,” said Juhlin.
“We all have to come together.”
Juhlin noted that he has spoken with Crowsnest Pass Community Futures on the matter, and that they have indicated there would be a number of government grants and other funding which could be attained for the construction of the facility and the steering committee could look into unique ways to fund day to day operation and maintenance of the indoor pool, which would be the biggest expense.
Councillor Jerry Lonsbury said he was glad to see a group of community members who are interested in establishing a committee to look into the issue.
“Virtually every survey that has been done in this community on the issue of an indoor swimming pool has said that people want it,” said Councillor Lonsbury.
“To see a group of people who are interested in actually trying to get this project moving is one of the best things that has happened this year.”
Councillors Emile Saindon and Brian Gallant echoed these sentiments, and Councillor Gallant noted that the municipality currently spends close to three quarters of a million dollars operating its multiple recreation facilities, and that amalgamating and centralizing these centres would be a good step and a potential relief to taxpayers.
“I am delighted to see the public taking interest,” said Councillor Gallant.
“This is a good step to be taking.”
“It is nice to see that we have citizens who are willing to employ their brains,” said Councillor Saindon.
“I hope that we can work together and move it forward.”
Mayor Bruce Decoux said it would be vitally important to get a community consensus on the desire for such a facility, which would require substantial tax dollars to operate.
“You have to consider providing service to your citizens, while at the same time not going broke,” said Mayor Decoux.
“The community has to decide on such a venture.”
Soon-to-be Chief Administrative Officer Myron Thompson said Council and Administration could get the Culture and Recreation Board involved in the planning process and that once the municipal facility audit has been completed, Council will be in a much better position to address capital funding and facility reconstruction.
Mayor Decoux told Juhlin that Council will continue to discuss the matter and keep him informed of their discussions and decision.