The aquatic centre saga

To the Editor,

It would appear that 1998 was an important year in the evolution of the Princeton

Aquatic Centre saga. The "Town of Princeton Proposal for a New Indoor Aquatic Centre for Princeton and District" brochure takes that year as a starting point, and so does the Information Sheet distributed to all Area 'H' residents.

The significance of this year was explained by the Arena and Recreation Centre

Manager, Lyle Thomas: "In 1998 the recreation department conducted a recreation

survey of both the Town and area H. Although not a scientific study, 360 surveys were filled in and returned. 55% were from Town residents, and 45% were from Area H residents. The number 1 need or desire identified by those who responded was the construction of an indoor aquatic centre. Since then we have conducted many smaller surveys and found the same response."

I have not been able to locate the "many smaller surveys" and it would appear that these important documents are not published, but the original 1998 pool survey can now be found on-line by simply using Google. One of the things which sticks out is that there is no mention of any Area 'H' communities, and the terms "Princeton" and "District" are used interchangeably.

It is interesting to note the first two points in the Aquatic Centre Referendum Brochure which everyone probably has seen by now.

- A recreation Master Plan conducted in 1998 identified a new indoor aquatic centre as the number one priority in the community.

- The new Official Community Plan confirmed that the need for a new Aquatic was a

high priority.

The only mention in the Princeton OCP is in section 8.2.3 which states "Initiate a

feasibility study for an expansion of aquatic and/or recreation facilities within the

community including opportunities to retrofit Riverside Centre." Nevertheless, how the original 1998 survey turned into a "Master Plan" is perhaps more concerning, especially considering that it ends with the following summary:

"It is important to note that the pool was only one part of an extensive community

survey. The pool did rank high on the list of interest and concern. Therefore it would be wise to produce a survey that would address only pool issues. Questions that need

answering are: Indoor vs Outdoor, Leisure vs Competition Pool, Tax increase for

development, New or Renovate Existing Pool."

I couldn't agree more.

Ole Juul



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