An alternate proposal to upgrade city swimming pools

The Collicutt Centre pool is open 112.5 hours per week, with 74 hours designated as public swimming and 16.5 hours designated as lane swimming.

The Collicutt Centre pool is open 112.5 hours per week, with 74 hours designated as public swimming and 16.5 hours designated as lane swimming.

The G.H. Dawe Centre pool is only open 102.5 hours; it has 67 hours designated as public swimming and 12.5 hours as lane swimming.

The interesting part is that the Michener Centre pool has only 12 hours per week designated as public swimming and 20 hours as lane swimming, and the Recreation Centre pool has 13 hours designated as public swimming and 39 hours designated as lane swimming.

The Michener pool is only open for 65 hours per week and the largest portion of time is set aside for groups.

The Rec Centre is open slightly longer at 98 hours per week but the largest portion seems to be lane swimming. Public swimming appears to be almost unimportant.

The Collicutt is open the longest with more time designated to public swimming and used by more than 50 per cent of the swimming public, followed by the Dawe pool, with Michener pool at the opposite end of the spectrum, followed by the Rec Centre.

The Collicutt and Dawe pools appear to be public pools used by the vast majority of Red Deer residents while the Rec Centre and Michener pools appear to be used by hard-core swimmers and the minority of the swimming public.

So it could be argued there is merit and savings in merging the two pools, allotting the same time for the swim clubs and their 400 members, extending the hours and still offer the minimal hours currently offered for public swimming to at least appear to be a public pool.

It is widely noted that there is a pool deficit in Red Deer, and there is a desire for a 50-metre pool, which Red Deer does not have. A study was done and a recommendation was made that we build a 54-metre pool at the Rec Centre in 2013 at a cost of $74.65 million or $84 million in 2015, plus or minus 20 per cent; $84 million plus 20 per cent equals $100 million.

As we know, political projects almost always go over budget and this budget does not include LEED principles and finishing touches.

A Major Area Structure Plan is being done for north of Hwy 11A, potentially adding 20,000 residents to Red Deer, with a third reading set for March 2015. History shows that the majority of Red Deer residents prefer a Collicutt pool model, and history shows that a pool gets built every 20 years.

In that light, does the recommendation still make sense?

The original study showed that we need to close Michener pool to reduce costs. But it still showed a merged operational deficit of $3 million annually, to be covered by taxpayers.

The latest recommendation is to keep Michener pool open, with an estimated cost of $16 million, which includes removing it from the Michener Centre power, heat and phone grid and bringing it up to code.

This still does not address the pool deficit n Red Deer, which will get more dire as the development in the north proceeds and the Rec Centre pool gets taken off line for years for expansion and the Michener pool gets taken off line for upgrading.

Why not just build a 50-metre pool north of Hwy 11A, in a Collicutt model pool, not close Rec Centre for years and continue leasing the Michener pool as long as possible? It may cost a $100 million but as it stands now, it could cost us a quarter of a billion dollars to renovate the Rec, upgrade the Michener and then build a pool in the north.

Building in the northwest could be used as an economic engine to spur development in the north side of Red Deer. It would address the pool deficit and it would mean that Red Deer would have a 50-metre pool.

As a taxpayer, I am hoping the city takes the most fiscally-responsible road, as well as the most community-minded road and not give in to a single interest group or two. The public has shown its desires with their choice preferences and I hope that the city can see that.

Garfield Marks

Red Deer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre in Red Deer has new owners. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Cambridge Hotel in Red Deer has new ownership group

‘They’re making an investment in this iconic hotel for the future,’ says general manager Gil Vallee

The new Gasoline Alley Farmers Market officially opened on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Gasoline Alley brewery a collaboration between brewers and farmers

Red Deer County’s newest brewery has been built from the ground up… Continue reading

RDA court
Mountie allegedly sexually assaulted by another officer begged a superior not to tell anyone

Female officer alleges she was assaulted at house party in 2012

The central zone experienced a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases Thursday, rising from 454 to 508 active cases over the past 24 hours, with 10 people in hospital. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Alberta government makes request to Canadian Red Cross for field hospitals

The Alberta Government has examined the possibility of needing help from the… Continue reading

Workers were busy getting a tall crane in place Thursday morning for the construction of the new courthouse in downtown Red Deer. The facility will include modern technology and replace the existing courthouse upon completion expected in spring 2023. Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff
Work on Red Deer Justice Centre progressing

Construction of the new courthouse in downtown Red Deer was visible Thursday… Continue reading

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

Defence lawyer Boris Bytensky, clockwise from top left, father of the accused Vahe Minassian, Justice Anne Malloy, and defendant Alek Minassian are shown during a murder trial conducted via Zoom videoconference, in this courtroom sketch on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. The key witness for the defence in Toronto’s van attack trial is set to testify for the fourth straight day today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Key witness for defence to testify for fourth day in van attack trial

TORONTO — The key witness for the defence in Toronto’s van attack… Continue reading

People take part in a protest called ‘Justice for Joyce’ in Montreal, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, where they demanded justice for Joyce Echaquan and an end to systemic racism. Two months after Echaquan’s death at a Joliette hospital, the head of the regional health authority that runs the hospital, Daniel Castonguay, has been removed from his post. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Head of regional health authority where Indigenous woman died removed from post

MONTREAL — Two months after the death of Joyce Echaquan in a… Continue reading

Signage for the Distress Centre in Calgary, Alta., is shown on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Distress Centre Calgary says suicide-related calls, texts and chats were up 66 per cent in October compared with the same month in 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘Dealing with a lot:’ Suicide crisis calls mount during COVID-19 pandemic

CALGARY — Hannah Storrs has needed to take more breaks than usual… Continue reading

Nancy McInerney, Kevin Martin, Olds Mayor Michael Muzychka, Chelsea Carey and MLA Nathan Cooper pose for a photo during the ticket launch for the Grand Slam of Curling Champions Cup in Olds from April 29 to May 3 in October. The event has been rescheduled for 2022. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Olds misses out on Champions Cup again, event penciled in to return in 2022

They say waiting is the hardest part for curling fans in central… Continue reading

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council squashes mask bylaw

The bylaw did not make it past first reading, after a 4-3 vote defeated the motion

Mikael Kingsbury, of Canada, trains during the FIS Freestyle World Cup skiing competition Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Park City, Utah. Kingsbury will miss moguls races for the first time in his World Cup career after suffering a back injury in training on Sunday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Swinger
Canadian moguls star Mikael Kingsbury out four to six weeks with back injury

MONTREAL — Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury will miss moguls races for the first… Continue reading

Detail of James Wilson Morrice's "LaPlage."
James Wilson Morrice canvas outperforms at auction with more than million-dollar sale

A canvas by Montreal-born artist James Wilson Morrice exceeded expectations with a… Continue reading

Most Read