(BlackburnNews.com photo)

Saugeen Shores Looking For Partners For New Indoor Pool

Saugeen Shores Council is looking for help to fund a new indoor pool.

Municipal staff have been directed to begin approaching potential funding partners, as well as seek out provincial and federal grants to help pay for a new pool to replace the 42-year-old Port Elgin Centennial Pool.

Council had a look at detailed proposals for the new pool, which range in price from $14-million for a basic single-tank pool, to $21-million for all amenities, including a lane pool, warm water therapy pool, water slide and indoor walking track.

Deputy Mayor Luke Charbonneau says there’s little doubt a new pool is needed and wanted by the community, but coming up with the money to build it will be a challenge.

He says the municipality simply can’t afford to shoulder the burden through debt, so they will need at least $10-million from outside sources in order to move ahead.

“We have our staff going out, they’re going to look for partners, they’re going to beat the bushes and they’re going to try and come up with the money,” says Charbonneau. “I don’t want anybody to have any illusions that it’s going to be a simple thing, or an easy thing, it’s at least $10-million from somewhere else or we can’t, we just can’t construct these things.”

Aquatics Supervisor Shanna Reid says they’re up for the challenge, and says that $21-million will not look quite so daunting once partners are on board.

“That $21-million is a pretty big number, but when you break it down into grants, provincial as well as federal, as well as partnerships and community support and fundraising opportunities, it’s definitely doable,” says Reid. “I definitely see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Although staff had recommended the east side of the arena complex as the preferred site of the new pool, council opted not to settle on a site, also considering the west side of the arena, Cameron Park in Port Elgin, as well as a green field site on Bruce St. at the south end of Port Elgin.