Sunday, March 29, 2015

THE SKINNY ON THE DIP

Of course, we're talking about the Kinsmen Pool, the grab-onto-project that a couple of candidates think will propel them to the Ward 2 seat on Fort Erie town council. Stephen Passero tried unsuccessfully to use the issue in his run for mayor but he has managed to time events to his advantage in the by-election to fill the seat of the late Rick Shular. Too bad, one of his opponents, Larry Graber is president of the Kinsmen, for he too has jumped into the pool, taking credit for the ridiculous presumption that the pool could be open this summer to young swimmers. (That is, if you believe the badly written, research-challenged report in the Fort Erie Times.)

Alrighty then, let's fire up the Way Back Machine and take a look at the situation, complete with the facts. Pay attention, Sarah Ferguson. I am going to link an article from your own newspaper: Fort Erie Pravda (™George Jardine)

It was 17 October, 2011 when the long-awaited Feasibility study of the Kinsmen Pool was presented to council. It was charmingly called The Outdoor Aquatic Facility Feasibility Study, Phase 2.

It presented five options for the future of the Kinsmen Pool.

1A: DO NOTHING  44 year old facility; pool tank, deck, mechanical equipment, and change room facility in poor condition.  Lifespan optimistically 1 year before current physical state of repair will require remedial actions and capital investment.

1B: TEMPORARY FIX  - Capital cost: in the order of magnitude of $610,080 (2011$) • Annual operational financial performance: ∙ Estimated annual operational expenditures (2011$) = $65,700 ∙ Estimated annual operational revenue (2011$) = $10,000 to $12,600 ∙ Estimated net operational cost = $53,100 to $55,700

2. REPLACEMENT ALTERNATIVE Capital cost: in the order of between $2,460,000 and $2,680,000 (2011$) ∙ Not including potential costs related to site acquisition ∙ Some recently upgraded equipment at existing facility can be carried forward (filters, pumps, heater, etc.)

3A:REPLACEMENT ALTERNATIVE Financial Implications of 3A: • Capital cost: in the order of between $3,059,000 and $3,495,000 (2011$) ∙ + optional 1 metre diving board ($14,000) ∙ + optional in-pool underwater lighting ($20,000) ∙ Not including potential costs related to site acquisition.

3B REPLACEMENT ALTERNATIVE Financial Implications of 3B Capital cost: in the order of between $3,536,000 and $3,884,000 (2011$) ∙ + optional 1 metre diving board ($14,000) ∙ + optional in-pool underwater lighting ($20,000) ∙ Not including potential costs related to site acquisition

This is where we were at in 2011. The choice was clear. Spend almost three quarters of a million dollars for a band aid solution that may work for a couple of years; spend millions to completely replace the pool or DO NOTHING.


Here, Sarah Ferguson, is the article about the Kinsmen Pool as reported in the October 18, 2011 Times. Here is what Passero said back then:

Coun. Stephen Passero, who is the chairman of the pool's fundraising committee, asked his council colleagues to support the reconstruction option, which would cost about $2.5 million. However, he said residents shouldn't be on the hook to pay the entire price tag.
He asked staff to prepare a report explaining the budgetary impact should the town pitch in $1.5 million, leaving his fundraising committee to find the additional $1 million through grants, community sponsorships and fundraising.
"I think we should at least be looking to maintain what we've always had."
Coun. Rick Shular said spending that type of money isn't as easy as it was when the pool was built by the Kinsmen Club 44 years ago.
"This is not 1967, when we had $30 million to bank on," he said.
Shular suggested the town consider a splash pad as a temporary solution, and in three to five years take another look at a new pool.
Based on a staff report as well as the funded report,council eventually decided to do nothing and the pool was closed, 2011 being its last year of operation. Four years have passed and nothing has been done to the pool. It sits in an ugly state of disrepair - an eyesore. Yet Stephen Passero and the clubbies from the Underwater Recovery Unit (a complete misnomer as they do nothing of the sort) think they can have the pool open and running some time this summer. And their few loyal followers think they can get funding for the re-opening through grants and fundraising. 

Sure, we'd all like a public pool for the kids to learn to swim and enjoy the water in a safe environment, but the resurrection of the Kinsmen Pool will be a very costly one for the taxpayers. 

 It truly will be a money pit.

And that's the skinny on the big dip - into the taxpayers' already stressed out budget.

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