LETTER: Pool plan left a lot to be desired

Reader Gerry Sobie questions the decision-making process that led to the pool closure.

Re: “Pool to close for up to 11 months,” Sept. 9

I am a regular patron of the Nelson and District Community Complex. This facility is a jewel in our community and I have the utmost respect for the staff that makes it a wonderful facility. We’ve been warned and informed for a year that the pool would have to close for major repairs. The start date would be May and we’d have our pool back in the New Year, 2016. With the Hall St. closure, the coordination of the two projects suggested forethought and planning went into this decision by those responsible.

Here we are in September and the pool remains open with the promise that “we should get a better idea today of when the Nelson aquatic centre will close for renovations.”

The information we received since the new year has been that the pool requires repairs; they would be extensive; they would extend the life of the facility for another generation; the cost would be $4.2 million. As we know, the pool didn’t close in May because the lowest bid came in at $1.2 million over budget.

Plan B has unfolded and unfortunately, it appears the closure will be during the prime season (winter months) when kids take swimming lessons, adults come indoors for their exercise and maintaining fitness, and the pool is most popular — especially on school holidays and weekends. It looks like we will have a quieter winter with no pool in Nelson available.

When a project the magnitude of $4.2 million is planned, shouldn’t the planners have known how realistic their budget and timelines were? Who is responsible for this? As a result of these changes, the pool staff has been left in the dark about their jobs. Initially they planned for May closure; many lifeguards have looked for other employment over the summer; staff have been lost; present staff are working day-to-day not knowing what will happen to their employment; no lessons can be scheduled; young kids will have to go a year without swim lessons because of the poor planning.

We all know best laid plans aren’t always realized. As the saying goes “S— happens.” If the people in charge would have communicated more with staff and the public, I think they would have found more tolerance. Instead, nothing was communicated since July and everyone was living day-to-day about the pool closure. If someone has fouled up, how about admitting it? I think they would have found their staff and the public much more accepting if direct, timely, transparent communication were provided when it was needed. Instead, we are left with some frustration and resentment.

Gerry Sobie

Nelson

The Regional District of Central Kootenay has announced the pool will close for renovations on Sept. 20.

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