The Beltline and Inglewood pools will likely be saved for two years, as a plan is put in place to determine their long-term future.
Several councillors indicated their support was contingent on boosting lagging citizen use and having a solid business case backing their ongoing use. It was mentioned multiple times in council that it’s a “use-it-or-lose-it proposition.”
On Monday, of 65 public submissions, roughly 20 per cent stepped forward to plead with city council to find the cash to keep the pools open. At Thursday’s meeting, the city was digging into the actual budget decisions.
In an amendment to the main budget motion to keep the city’s tax rate at zero per cent, Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra asked that the city keep the pools open for another two years while a medium and perhaps long-term plan for these recreation facilities and services can be developed. Included in that is a Request for Proposal to find a partner operator.
Council had previously heard that it would cost $800,000 annually to keep the pools open. They also heard that it would cost $400,000 to secure, heat and maintain those facilities.
Mayor Nenshi ‘profoundly’ disappointed in administration’s work
Mayor Naheed Nenshi said it didn’t make sense to be planning for the facilities’ future and closing it. He was critical of city administration’s work on the file.
He said council agreed to give the facilities more time to come up with a plan to save them. Administration delivered the same plan to councillors with few alterations this fall.
“I’m actually profoundly disappointed in the work that administration has done on this over the last six months,” Nenshi said. He added that it was insanity that they would spend that kind of money over two to three years while they waited for a plan.
“For a small additional cost, instead of having security guards roam and empty building, you can have kids swimming in the empty building, while you actually come up with a plan. Why in the world would we not do that.”
Need to have a solid business case, said Coun. Sutherland
Coun. Ward Sutherland said he couldn’t support the motion in its current form because “there’s zero business plan” put forth with the plan to save the pools.
“There’s no report back time, there’s no dollar targets that have to be met. So basically, you’re just saying let’s take a shot, see what happens and we’ll talk about this in two years,” Sutherland said.
As a result, an amendment to the amendment was put forward for a business plan to be put together for Q1. The amendment was approved.
The amendment was approved to cover the one-time costs for the Beltline and Inglewood pools (at $800,000).
The money will come out of corporate savings.
The is an amendment to the main budget motion put forth. Should the main budget motion fail, this amendment would also fail with it.