By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Public engagement for potential pool options will begin this month in Coaldale.
During their regular Sept. 23 meeting, Coaldale town council reviewed the public participation plan for the community pool.
A critical equipment failure to the pool’s filtration system on July 13 had closed the pool for the remainder of the summer, and has left the town without a useable community pool. At council’s Sept. 9 meeting, administration had presented a series of options — ranging from not having a pool, repairing it or building a new outdoor or indoor pool facility — that they would put to the community for input. Council had directed direct administration to move forward with public engagement and get feedback from citizens on what direction they would like to go before council makes their final decision on the pool.
“Essentially, the idea would be to focus on the ‘Involve’ level of discussion with the community, in a way that makes use of what is probably deliberative forum, which is focussed on building knowledge for all participants around the financial and other realities of all the options available for how to deal with those situations, and having in-depth predictive discussions with all stake-holders involved,” said Spencer Croil, director of planning and community development for the town.
Public engagement will take place starting in October and go through to November, although Croil acknowledged that they were running “a little bit behind” in terms of advertising for it.
“In the first two weeks of October, you should start to have engagement activities focused on the pool discussion,” said Croil. “There is a fair amount of work that goes into building educational items for a participation plan like that, and we want to make sure we get that right before we start having detailed discussions with the community.”
Coun. Doreen Lloyd requested clarification on the timeline in the plan, asking if it meant that they would have a decision deadline on the pool at the end of November. Croil replied that the idea would be that the next step would be clearly identified by the end of November.
“Whether that be for staff to look into one particular option in more detail, or continue exploring one or two options that are the preferences of the community, we would have clarity of what the next steps would be for staff at that time, not a exact answer on what the outcome would be.”
Coun. Bill Chapman asked if they would include the real costs involved with each potential pool option in their presentations.
“That would be the core focus of the educational material that we’re trying to build. A pool — whether it’s indoor or outdoor, large or small —isn’t a new concept. So what we’re doing is reaching out to a lot of the other communities of our size that have built or have considered building various types of pools in the past five years or so, to build the financial knowledge of what each of those options represent. That would be a core focus of the discussion,” said Croil.
“The idea would be we would have a good idea of what each option costs in a general sense, compared to other communities who have already done builds on these options, before we actually have detailed discussions with community members.”
Croil also confirmed that they would also give residents an idea on how each option would affect their taxes, along with potential finding models.
Costs associated with the operational aspect of each pool option would be included in the “broader discussion”.
Council unanimously passed a motion to approve the submitted public participation plan for the pool.