“I believe Scotia Pool deserves to have an opportunity, a chance, to be maintained,” Councillor Christine Blair said, in introducing a motion to continue funding for the Bible Hill facility.
“Scotia Pool is a facility that serves the community very well and it continues to do so.”
In recent past years, the municipality has provided $100,000 in annual funding towards the pool’s operations. For the past year, that amount was reduced to $75,000 and council had previously determined it would eliminate funding to the provincially owned facility with the creation of a new leisure pool at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC).
Because the opening of that pool has been delayed, however, council decided Thursday night, on a motion put forth by Mayor Bob Taylor, to provide an additional $25,000 to assist Scotia Pool with its current operations.
The pool is scheduled to close at the end of September when existing provincial funding ends. However, a strong, vocal community effort has generated a call for continued funding.
Approximately 50 supporters of the pool packed council chambers Thursday night during discussion on the matter.
The initial decision to close that pool and also the Centennial Pool at the Nova Scotia Community College campus in Truro, was made through discussion with the province during plans to create the new community centre to help ensure the new RECC pool would be fully utilized.
“I think we have to give it a chance (to prove itself to the community),” Taylor said, of the RECC facility.
“We’re going to be very tight on our (county) budget this year,” he added.
“We’re bordering on one cent on our tax rate to this,” he said, if an initial request by Blair to maintain $100,000 in funding for the year was maintained.
Blair later changed her motion to have funding for Scotia Pool added to the budget discussions without attaching a set figure, after other councillors said they wanted to know how much funding might be forthcoming from other potential partners, including the towns of Truro and Stewiacke, the Village of Bible Hill and the provincial and federal governments.
Bible Hill Village Commission has already voted not to provide funding beyond this year.
“If we lose this pool, we are not going to get it back,” Councillor Wade Parker said. “Just having one pool makes no sense to me.”
Other councilors, however, said they wanted to get a better handle on Scotia Pool’s annual operation costs (estimated at $300,000) and future maintenance expenses.” And concern was also expressed about the possibility of decreased membership at Scotia Pool once the RECC pool opens.
Although proponents of the Scotia pool have previously said that the users of the leisure pool at the RECC would not be able to swim laps or do full body immersion, which is beneficial to arthritis and other chronic pain sufferer, a spokesperson for the facility said that is not the case.
While the leisure pool does not have “lane lines per se,” Kathy Sutherland said, “there is sufficient room for individuals to do laps in that pool.”
And Sutherland said the pool also “absolutely” does offer enough depth for full body immersion.
- Update corrects earlier information pertaining to comments made in reference to the RECC leisure pool.