The $200,000 set aside by city council will be used for a variety of purposes

As a member of the Central Alberta Aquatic Centre, I welcome the opportunity to respond to Randy Shalagan’s letter of May 13, in which he asks city council to rescind its motion to release $200,000 as a first step in moving towards a new multi-use aquatic facility.

As a member of the Central Alberta Aquatic Centre, I welcome the opportunity to respond to Randy Shalagan’s letter of May 13, in which he asks city council to rescind its motion to release $200,000 as a first step in moving towards a new multi-use aquatic facility.

In his letter, Shalagan questions why the city would “choose money to spend on a study concerning an aquatic centre.”

I would like to clarify that the $200,000 is not being spent on a study. We are simply moving forward on a previous study that the city undertook in which citizens of Red Deer clearly indicated that parks (number one and two on the list), and aquatics (number three), were the major areas that required immediate attention.

The Central Alberta Aquatic Centre and the city Recreation Department have formed a joint task group to plan the next steps in building a new multi use aquatic facility.

The $200K will be spent on realistic goals such as a business plan and a concept for the facility as well as building community awareness. We believe that with the right information, this project can move ahead.

Shalagan goes further to say that, “one out of 10 children live in poverty in Red Deer.”

We can’t dispute that fact. However he goes on to say, “$200,000 could be spent on activities that would afford the opportunity for those who cannot afford to participate” and “council should try to get more children involved in sports rather than fund a study.”

The Central Alberta Aquatic Centre and the City of Red Deer are trying to do exactly that.

The advantages of building a new facility is that it lends itself to new programming and opportunities to address the needs of the community, especially those of our children.

Shalagan quotes the Red Deer Advocate, “that a portion of those funds, will be spent on building community awareness,” further saying in his own words “which translates into some money spent to convince the community that this is a good project.”

Citizens of Red Deer don’t need convincing. They spoke loud and clear when solicited to take part in the city’s facilities needs assessment study. Action is now being taken from those results.

The community awareness component of this project is our task force’s commitment to being transparent and keeping residents abreast of current information.

It is without a doubt that planning for a new multi-use aquatic facility must happen now.

Projects of this kind must start somewhere. With effort from the joint task group, we believe a new multi-use aquatic facility can become a reality in a timely fashion. It is economically prudent to start planning for this project now because of the favourable interest rates, and the inevitable increases in building material costs and labour costs.

It’s simply not a 50-metre competitive pool, it’s a multi-purpose pool, something of which the city of Red Deer is lacking.

It has never been said that a 50-metre pool would be used solely for competitive sport. To the contrary, the joint task group is committed to build a multi-use pool.

Not only would it address Shalagan’s concerns about new programming and opportunity for our children, but more importantly it affords every member of our community an improved quality of life. Swimming is a life skill.

Debbie Rowe

Central Alberta Aquatics Centre

Director

Red Deer