When Colchester County mayor Bob Taylor released a public statement this week in response to ongoing criticism that has been expressed about the municipality's involvement with the Scotia Pool in Bible Hill, we're sure it was not made lightly.
Taylor, you see, lives in Bible Hill. He knows the pool has played an important role in the community over the years and he no doubt knows a few neighbours who don't want to see it disappear.
But Taylor and the rest of county council made a commitment a few years back to support the construction of an ultra-modern civic centre in central Colchester, one that comes complete with an aquatic centre featuring a leisure pool and a competitive pool.
This $50-million project promises to serve the community well for the next two generations (it better at that price tag, right?), but it comes with a catch. As council committed tax dollars to the civic centre, it made it clear that its role as the main funding partner for Scotia Pool would come to an end this December.
That contribution, as Taylor stated, started as $50,000 in 1999 and has grown to $100,000 in recent years. In total, council has contributed $1.1 million to Scotia Pool in the past 13 years.
Of course, without this funding the Friends of the Scotia Pool, a community group committed to saving the pool, are left scrambling to find new streams of revenue but it has not been easy. Even the Village of Bible Hill has come up empty-handed and we'd be surprised if enough provincial dollars are available to make up the difference, especially on a long-term basis.
As for Taylor and the rest of council, however, they are right to keep an eye on the big picture. Community swimming pools, after all, are expensive to operate and rarely, if ever, pay for themselves. In addition, given Colchester County's population we can't see enough demand to adequately support more than two community pools for the foreseeable future.
In time, we believe the two new civic centre pools will prove their value and the wisdom of Taylor and council in supporting it will be vindicated.
That's of no consolation to supporters of Scotia Pool but it's council's job at times to make decisions and this is a decision they shouldn't have to make any apologies for.