Location of new Aquatics Centre in Saugeen Shores still not decided

Saugeen Shores council remains undecided on where to locate its proposed new indoor pool facility.

Council voted 5-4 in opposition to a recommendation to select the arena complex in Port Elgin as the preferred site for the new pool.

Vice-Deputy Mayor Mike Myatt said he believes the arena land is too small to fit the pool proposal, as well as a potential second ice pad and all necessary parking.

“It’s like shoving a square peg in a round hole, I’m not convinced that the site is large enough for a 43,000 square foot facility,” said Myatt. “Back in 2016, we talked about a pool and a walking track, now we’re adding a gymnasium and a fitness facility to the square footage.  A lot more parking required.”

Council did agree on beginning negotiations with the YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce toward an operations agreement, while also agreeing to move ahead with a grant application to the federal government to help absorb capital costs.

Mayor Luke Charbonneau said it’s a positive step toward ultimately approving the new pool.

“We will have an excellent application to put forward to the federal and provincial governments to get the matching funding we need to actually put shovels in the ground,” said Charbonneau. “So I think the community should feel good that council is progressing in a way that’s going to put us in the best position, at least, to get positive results on this.”

Charbonneau added council will hear a recommendation from an ad-hoc committee at its next meeting on October 28th regarding an alternate site the pool and is hopeful a final decision on the location will be made then.

Myatt chaired the ad-hoc committee and said the recommendation will be to consider a parcel of land at the north end of Port Elgin on the northwest corner of Highway 21 and the Concession 10, which is currently privately owned.