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It's time for St. Albert to plan for a new pool

It's time for the City to honour the opinions and votes of the citizens of St. Albert and to budget funds to plan a new pool to be added to Servus Place Recreation Centre.

It's time for the City to honour the opinions and votes of the citizens of St. Albert and to budget funds to plan a new pool to be added to Servus Place Recreation Centre. The vote was over two years ago and the need for a new pool at Servus Place is even greater now. Expanding the multi-recreation centre in Campbell Park is the most sensible and economical option for increased recreational facilities in St. Albert.

The need for more aquatic space is well documented. Wait lists for swimming lessons, programs and swim clubs have been a problem for many years with no relief in sight. At the vote in 2017, the people expressed being in favour of going ahead with planning a new pool added on to Servus Place over planning a new library. However, not only has a new library been planned, it is to open soon. What happened to the new pool at Servus Place?

Regarding locating a new pool at Servus Place, there is plenty of space for a new pool, the land is owned by the City, it is already serviced and the location is ideal for the majority of people in St. Albert and the Edmonton area. A new regulation-size pool will meet the aquatic needs of the citizens of St. Albert as well as bring Servus Place up to the standard of recreation centres in Alberta. Servus Place is the only multi-recreation centre in Alberta with a pool, two or more ice arenas, and no regulation-size swimming pool.

The addition of a pool, especially a 10-lane-by-50-metre pool, will make the facility first class; able to meet the recreational needs of the community for the next several decades. With a well-planned design, such a facility will also serve to host local, provincial, regional, national and international competitions in swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo, lifeguard competitions, triathlons, Alberta Summer Games, Western Canada Summer Games, Canada Summer Games and many more events. Such events will bring in significant revenue as people travelling to St. Albert will also need accommodation and meals during their visit.

Servus Place is ideally located as roads are already in place, making it easily accessible to people within St. Albert and those visiting the facility either on their way to or from work or school in Edmonton. It's also easily accessible for visiting athletes and their families for events, as Anthony Henday Drive is so close. For now, this location is preferred over the areas in the north end of the city as the existing roads to Servus Place can adequately accommodate patron and event traffic, whereas the lands being considered for recreation facilities north or northwest of the city will increase traffic flow considerably and not be as accessible for citizens and visitors.

The fact that the City already owns the land at Servus Place Recreation Centre, that it is already serviced and that additional roads are not needed to access it makes adding a pool on to Servus Place the most economical option over other locations being considered for recreation facilities.

Another item to consider is the fact that Fountain Park Recreation Centre is due for major maintenance work in the near future. It's getting old. Similar pools in Edmonton have been shut down for over a year to do the much-needed upgrades. However, since so many classes and programs are operating at Fountain Park Pool, the pool can't be shut down for major work as there isn't another pool for the classes and programs to be relocated during the shutdown. A new pool at Servus Place will help with this need as well.

Servus Place is shovel-ready for a new pool. We, the people of the City of St. Albert, voted for planning a new pool at Servus Place to begin. It's the most sensible and economical option. It's also the fastest way to attain improved multi-recreational infrastructure in St. Albert. The time to budget funds to plan a new pool is now!

S. and W. Nelson, St. Albert