The Plex in Port Elgin to be the site of a new aquatics centre

Saugeen Shores council selects The Plex in Port Elgin as the preferred location for a new indoor pool facility. (Jordan MacKinnon photo)

After more than a decade of debate and studies, Saugeen Shores council has settled on a location for a new indoor pool facility.

Council voted 8-1 to approve The Plex in Port Elgin as the preferred site of the new pool, dismissing potential standalone options due to increased cost considerations.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau said it’s the right decision and now allows council to move ahead with applying to the federal government for grant funding in the area of $15 million, which will be necessary in order to proceed in the near future.

“It’s substantial dollars and the kind of dollars we could not come up with through our own tax levy and could not borrow responsibly,” said Charbonneau. “To build a project of this scale, we really need the support of those other levels of government.”

The lone vote in opposition came from Deputy Mayor Don Matheson, who said concerns he has voiced in the past have still yet to be answered.

He said the final design still has not yet been determined and he is not convinced The Plex site will be big enough to accommodate the pool and its amenities.

“Once we look at what the building is going to be, we’ll see what the size it actually is, then does the size still fit there? Plus, we still have to look at building design,” said Matheson. “Does the design, if it’s brick-and-mortar, fit there?   If it’s an alternative design, does that fit there?    So there’s still a lot of questions yet to be answered.”

A rendering presented to council on Oct. 15th showed a potential configuration of The Plex with a new pool facility and future second ice pad.

A potential design rendering presented to council on October 15 showed the pool facility expanding north of the arena into the current parking lot, with parking extended down the west side of the property, as well as to the east of a potential second ice surface.