Closer look at McArthur Island pool proposal

By Chad Klassen
March 24, 2016 - 5:38pm Updated: March 25, 2016 - 10:34am

KAMLOOPS — As the city gauges public opinion on whether to keep three community pools on the North Shore that are showing their age, City of Kamloops staff has put forward a proposal to build a leisure pool at McArthur Island instead. 

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Chad Klassen

The facility would be built behind the current Sports Centre, on the site of the former Kamloops Boys and Girls Club.

"It's about an activity centre for aquatics, for individuals to come out and be fit if they're just wanting to lane swim or to have fun, if they want to play around in moving water. A wave pool, slides," says Director of Parks & Recreation Byron McCorkell.

The city is in the early stages of the proposal. There have been no conceptional drawings yet, and no dollar amounts on the proposed leisure pool. 

But the city sees an opportunity to be more cost-effective, using heat produced from the two ice rinks in the pool. 

"We have ice plants that are basically about making heat, and you've got a pool that's all about needing heat, so you put the two together and it's cheaper."

During the public meetings the last month, discussing the future of the three community pools, the city has said a leisure pool at Mac Island would allow more residents to swim at a cheaper cost to taxpayers. 

"Our budget is going to be over 2% increase in taxes and you see three facilities that we are providing services for about 60,000 residents, visits a year," says McCorkell. "Then you compare that exact same amount of tax subsidy every year, $700,000, to the Canada Games, the Tournament Capital Centre, is $700,000 a year and you're seeing over 500,000 visits a year."

The Sports Centre, including the lobby, was renovated in 2005, and that won't change under the new proposal. The parking lot in front and behind the centre will remain as well. 

Byron McCorkell says if Council decides to spend the money to refurbish pools in Westsyde, Brock, and at McDonald Park, he's ok with it. 

But he feels tax dollars could be spent more wisely. 

"Our job as administration, these are 50-year-old facilities. Yes, they're good in their neighbourhoods, but they're not addressing the larger community needs, nor the longer term, the next 50 years for Kamloops." 

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