No public swimming pool a big disappointment

A letter to the editor of the 100 Mile Free Press by Sue and John Code.

To the editor:

We have nothing against an indoor field but when we read the article in the April 13 edition of the Free Press we felt really angry! No public swimming pool because we cannot afford to maintain one here.

According to the information in the Free Press on April 13, the CRD can access federal grant money to help with construction of an indoor field – gymnasium, volleyball and basketball court. If federal money is available for recreation that would also apply to an aquatic facility. Seriously, people have been trying to get a public pool in the South Cariboo since the 1970s.

When the CRD ran a phone survey, they did not tell people that there could be funds available to access, fundraising or any other form of monetary amounts that would bring the cost down for the taxpayers. They used the worst case scenario of all on taxes to pay for the pool with no mention of grants or fundraising or Lottery Grants to access. Every other pool referendum conducted in the province uses taxation for part of the funds and grants and fundraising for the remainder of the costs to reduce the costs that the taxpayers would be on the hook for.

The CRD ran a phone survey (instead of the referendum the South Cariboo Aquatic Society wanted), of 400 people who had landlines only, which eliminated a large percentage of the young people who don’t have landlines and still got 47 per cent in favour of a pool here.

In our minds, if a referendum had been put out there we would have gotten more than enough yes votes that the CRD and District needed to proceed with building a pool. It is obvious that the people elected are not listening to the people who elected them and their needs. We, the South Cariboo Aquatic Society, could not apply for grants or lottery licences for fundraising because without a passed referendum there is no concrete goal as in an aquatic facility. That is the only thing that stopped us in our tracks after eight long years of trying to get a swimming pool in the South Cariboo.

We have heard so many stories from people having to leave our area to get swimming lessons for their children or grandchildren. Does anyone out there think this does not cost a lot of money to do? The people who do leave to go out of town also do their shopping out of town, a big hit to our town’s economy. I would think with all the safety reasons and all the lakes in the area this would be a priority to have a pool here so the children could learn to swim! No, a Public Pool is not a money maker, however, it does provides a necessary recreational opportunity for those who do not participate in other existing sports activities. We do have plenty of lakes to swim in but not in the winter.

Swimming is a low-impact sport that gets people out there.

We are still getting phone calls from people asking why we haven’t got a pool. We ask ourselves this all the time! We would not vote for an indoor gym over a swimming pool first.

Sue and John Code

100 Mile House