Darwin Smith Asks Council to Keep Pool Operating
Council voted to have staff undertake a financial assessment
The outdoor swimming pool across from the library in Campbellford is the focus of a request made to council by a resident to keep it open in summer instead of it being decommissioned. The new recreation and wellness centre is to open in 2024.
Article/image by John Campbell
Trent Hills – Wed., Oct. 4, 2023 – What’s to become of Campbellford’s outdoor swimming pool after the recreation and wellness centre currently under construction opens a year from now?
The new facility will have a four-lane swimming pool as well as a therapy pool but Darwin Smith told Trent Hills council last week that the pool on Ranney Street should remain open as well.
It’s in “the perfect spot,” in the heart of Campbellford, “easily accessible” by children and seniors, who won’t have to get in the car and drive to the multipurpose recreation facility at the south edge of town, the Cider Lane resident said.
Built in 1974, “it can be kept (in use) with some repairs,” he said. “I’m imploring upon you to save the pool (and) keep it running.”
Smith said “our community is going to double, triple in the years to come and without an outdoor pool, we are lost,” because the new facility “is not going to be able to cope with the amount of people” wanting to use it.
He asked what are council’s plans for the pool and what he and others “have to do to further our goal of keeping” it in use.
Mayor Bob Crate said it was the view of council that the outdoor pool wouldn’t be needed because the new facility will have “everything that you enjoy.”
Community Recreation Officer Peter Burnett said no staff report has been prepared on what is to be done with the pool and a capital assessment would have to be carried out to identify the repairs that are needed and the costs involved.
“We could have a pool but having someone to run it is another challenge,” he added, because Trent Hills’ operating partner, YMCA Northumberland, is “committed to operating the new facility,” and not continue running the program at the outdoor pool.
Smith suggested council look at partnering with a service club “that could it take on.”
Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Phillips said an assessment of the pool and the area done more than a decade ago determined both were obsolete and needed to be replaced.
“And that was really the whole premise behind our grant application to the federal government,“ she said, because “replacement in many cases ends up being more cost effective than continuing to invest money in existing infrastructure.”
A woman joined Smith in arguing that the outdoor pool be kept in use because where it’s located is so convenient for young and old, and there are no sidewalks that run all the way to the recreation centre being built on Seymour Quarry Road.
Crate pointed out the new pool will be much more accessible, as it will be open year-round and not just in the summer.
Asked by the mayor what it costs to operate the pool, Burnett said the annual budget is between $50,000 and $60,000.
In the end council voted to have staff undertake a financial assessment of keeping the outdoor pool open.
Phillips said in an interview that “from the get-go … (it) was always the plan to decommission” both the swimming pool and arena because “to continue to operate (them) in the future would require a considerable investment.”
She said “there’s a lot of positives” to having “everything under one roof, which creates all kinds of efficiencies.”
The “other perspective on this location is how central it is for all of Trent Hills,” she said. “If you live in downtown Campbellford and are used to walking to the swimming pool this is going to be change but this is much more accessible for residents of Hastings and Warkworth. That was really why this location was chosen, it’s easier access for everyone.”
The pool is “a wonderful facility,” and there’s “steady usage,” Burnett said, but it’s open just eight to nine weeks a year.