A planned partnership with a local condominium with an indoor swimming pool to provide year-round public swimming opportunities will not move forward, according to a letter submitted to the municipality in February on behalf of the condominium owners at Brookside Condominiums.
“On Tuesday, January 26th, 2016, a Special Owners meeting was held for Grey Condominium Corporation No. 41 (Brookside Condos), attended by 85 percent of all Owners. This meeting was held in order to discuss and vote on the pool proposal provided by the Town of Meaford dated October 19th, 2015. In addition to the terms of your proposal, there was a comprehensive discussion of all factors which could affect the Owners' position, both physically and financially, with respect to the leasing of the pool building and facility,” read the letter dated February 2, which was included in the February 29 council meeting agenda package. “It has been determined that the scope of use required by the Municipality far exceeds the level of involvement that the owners are prepared to agree to at this time, and would materially change the current character of the Brookside Condos from a quiet senior complex.”
The condo owners also expressed a concern that the value of their properties would drop if their pool was opened up to public use.
“It has been further ascertained that implementation of your proposal would likely have a negative impact on Brookside Condos property values. It has been determined that further negotiations on the proposal would be fruitless and therefore the owners have unanimously voted against the proposal brought forth,” informed the condo owners.
In October of last year, Meaford's council voted in favour of exploring the possibility of the partnership in order to launch a two and a half year pilot project that would have seen the lease of an indoor pool facility from the Brookside condominium board.
The proposed 2016 municipal tax-supported operating budget subsidy to assume management and operations of the indoor swimming pool facility through public-private partnership (based on a proposed September 2016 start up) was projected to be $54,500, Meaford's Director of Parks, Recreation, and Culture told council in October. An additional one-time capital investment of $15,000 would also have been required in 2016 to provide necessary identification and directional signage for the indoor swimming pool facility, grading of gravel public parking area, and fencing. Buttineau also said that some minor upgrades would have been required to ensure the facility would be in compliance with the applicable Occupational Health & Safety Act and associated legislation governing public facilities and spaces.
“The proposed annual tax-supported operating subsidy for a full year operation of said indoor swimming pool facility through public-private partnership is projected to be $99,937 in 2017 and $97,287 in 2018,” Buttineau told council in his October report.
The proposal would have seen the indoor pool facility utilized for ten months of the year, and the Blue Dolphin outdoor pool would be in use for two months in July and August.
Though the condominium pool is smaller than a regulation swimming pool typically found at public facilities, municipal staff believed it to be adequate for providing swimming lessons to local children, and for adult leisure swimming.
“The pool itself is a smaller pool facility. We're not looking at lane-swimming as an option. We're looking at some fitness programs, or some aqua-aerobics programs, lessons, and general leisure swims,” Buttineau told council in October.
Councillor Shirley Keaveney told council at their February 29 meeting that she is hopeful that the potential for public indoor swimming in the municipality might still become a reality as municipal staff are exploring possibilities at other locations.