LIVERPOOL, NS - The Queens Community Aquatic Society (QCAS) is one step closer to the dream of constructing a new pool in the region.
“The society is a group of people interested in having a pool in Queens County – an indoor, year-round pool,” said Celeste Johnston, president of the QCAS board of directors.
The council of the Region of Queens Municipality approved a grant of $6,000 on Oct. 24 to help the QCAS with funding a consulting report, which is the next step in the project. The grant will be paid from the previous year’s operating surplus.
The society will also need to seek provincial funding to cover the full cost of the report, which is expected to cost $24,000. A detailed report is a necessary step for the society to proceed to the funding stage of the pool project.
Bill Burke and Cathy Oliver of Bakers Settlement will be conducting the report. Although Burke and Oliver are now retired, Johnston said they have built or been involved with the construction of more than 30 pools across Canada.
The consultants will return with a project definition – for example, how many lanes and how deep the pool should be and how much deck space is needed. Burke and Oliver will also discuss the construction cost. Johnston said they would provide what a reasonable price to expect would be.
“Most importantly, they would say what it would cost to operate such pool,” she said.
Johnston said pools generally don’t make money – instead, they generally lose money. An exception, she said, is the Canada Games Centre in Halifax, which has big waterslides and is a major draw in the area.
Operating costs would include heating and staffing, among other things.
Last winter, the society did a survey looking at the need for a year-round, indoor pool and received close to 1,000 responses. People of all ages responded, said Johnston. The society distributed the surveys widely – in South and North Queens.
“The responses were overwhelmingly in favour of having a pool,” said Johnston.
Board members worked with people from Dalhousie University to create the questionnaire, and the Dalhousie group conducted the analysis. That way, the survey was transparent, Johnston explained.
Following the survey, the QCAS requested information and heard from six companies.
“The only thing that was consistent was that we could see that the structure of an indoor pool attached to Queens Place would be approximately $8-10 million, depending on what you put in it,” said Johnston.
At the end of February, a report is set to go to council. That report will include a detailed plan that includes a project definition, construction costs and operating costs.
“Council is appreciative of the work that members of the Queens Community Aquatic Society are putting into researching the viability of a community indoor pool for Queens County,” said David Dagley, mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “Their due diligence in reaching out to hire independent consultants to source the best information as to the capacity, use and needs of the community in a pool is very important.”
Down the road, pending approval, the society’s role would be to raise money and handle public relations.
“As a society, we don’t approach the government for funding. That has to be the region that does that,” said Johnston, adding that the society can reach out to foundations, corporations and individuals.