Local governments and the Osoyoos Indian Band are jumping in with both feet to see if an indoor aquatics centre is a fit for the community.
For years councils from Oliver and Osoyoos have waded with the idea of building an aquatic centre to serve both communities. Recently the Osoyoos Indian Band the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen also dove into discussions.
The Town of Oliver took a jump off the deep-end by applying for a $100,000 provincial Rural Dividend Fund grant. If successful the grant will be used to conduct a feasibility study that would detail services, capital and operating costs, site assessment, facility layout, design and develop a cost sharing, governance and operating model.
It’s unknown at this time whether the pool would be located in Oliver or Osoyoos.
“The feasibility study process will include extensive community consultation,” a press release from the local governments and Osoyoos Indian Band stated.
A municipal councils and the Osoyoos Indian Band provided support letters for the project.
“An indoor public pool continues to be a high priority for many local Osoyoos residents,” said Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff. “Our Community Services review showed that this issue is top of the list for families.
“But since the cost of a pool and the ongoing cost for operating a pool is steep and could be difficult to manage for any single municipality, I am pleased that our local governments are looking to cooperate on a feasibility study.”
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said although its early in the project he’s excited discussions are underway.
“It is great to see our local governments looking into opportunities that would in the end benefit the entire region,” he said.
In the past the project was too big for one local government but Mark Pendergraft, Area A (Osoyoos Rural) director, said with a partnership it could become a reality.
“I am excited about the potential pool as a partnership,” he said. “Between communities is the only way to keep the cost to a potentially reasonable level, and will result in a higher-quality facility that has higher use.”
Over the next few months, the partners will establish a steering committee that would include representatives from member councils and staff to administer the grant and move the project forward.
The feasibility study is the first step in what is expected to be a lengthy process. The steering committee will work to maintain positive energy among the partners and report progress to the member constituencies.