Despite the recent, and hopefully temporary return of Old Man Winter, residents in Rimbey should soon see the beginning of yet another major construction job – that being the rebuilding of our community swimming pool.
And while many letters on the topic of the new pool have been published in these pages with a majority of submitters urging the Town to ensure that the new facility comes complete with a roof allowing for year-round usage, the combination of urgent timelines imposed predominantly by the federal government to have the work completed by this time next year, and a tight budget have determined that a roof is simply not fiscally possible without creating a huge tax burden on citizens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the new pool will never have a roof.
Considering the pool will be required to support hundreds of tons of weight in the form of water, it’s a safe bet to assume that the foundation will be more than strong enough to support a roof, so if and when the time arrives, no major additional foundation work should be required.
Furthermore, the cost of adding a roof is a fixed expense beyond up-keeping and maintenance costs, despite the fact that the addition could add millions to the cost of the project, but the real killer in the equation is the cold, hard reality that operational costs would surely keep the new pool ‘drowning’ in red ink, no matter how many swimmers and sun-bathers it attracts.
But what if a trust fund were to be established to which a number of local fundraising activities may contribute to, or even individual or corporate donations? Perhaps one or all of our service clubs may, in addition to the fine work they already do in the community, want to consider spearheading a campaign to ‘raise the roof’, if you will.
And as for what will surly be staggering operating costs, we’re all aware of the technological advances being made daily in the search for eco-friendly energy alternatives and maybe somewhere down the road the Town might consider applying for grants and/or funding of a greener variety.
After all, the pool has large areas of vacant land on both its north and west sides so perhaps some of that already-proven technology is the answer to the new pool’s operating costs. First and foremost, with all the available land in the area, geothermal energy could easily be installed with little or no disruptions other than parking for students at the high school. From there, perhaps other alternative sources of energy could be tapped including solar panels and even large windmills. Heck, it might even attract more tourists to Rimbey.
Besides, in light of the tremendous effort put forth by the community in securing the title of Pinkest Town in the West, what’s stopping us from adding a new colour to the rainbow and striving to be the Greenest Town in the West, even if we’re in the heart of good old oil-guzzlin’ Alberta?
Had the Town been given even a few more months to ponder the future of the pool, they may have considered other options such as a relocation and possibly attaching it to the Community Centre where all the infrastructure is in place and at least one wall, and possibly even two, have already been erected.
But that’s simply not the case and council should be commended for refusing to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth.
In the meantime, we’ll have to be content with watching the progress of the new swimming pool secure in the knowledge that in a little over one year, we can all welcome the newest jewel in Rimbey’s crown and take full advantage of a wonderful new facility that people of all ages can enjoy, even if for only a few summer months and even though it doesn’t have a roof…yet. – JT