Swimming in opportunity

It's no surprise that the Invermere Community Hall is on its last legs, so why not swap those legs for some fins?

It’s no surprise that the Invermere Community Hall is on its last legs, so why not swap those legs for some fins?

It’s starkly evident that any mention of an indoor community swimming pool is missing from the dialogue that took place at last Tuesday night’s District of Invermere (DOI) council meeting. And one is left to wonder why.

“Initiating the process to build partnerships to facilitate the creation of a multi-use complex within the community” was one of nine action items singled out by the Imagine Invermere 2030 Implementation Team in 2012, until DOI council, in a vote 3-2, struck the item from the list at a meeting last July.

“There’s a lot more low-hanging fruit that we can pick on that would be really great for the community,” said Councillor Paul Denchuk at the time. But now that the need for a multi-use community complex is more immediate and obvious, council still seems hesistant to reach any higher.

Steve Hubrecht reports on page 3 that according to Mayor Gerry Taft, borrowing $5.4 million to build a new centre would be the worst-case scenario for the district, and that he hopes private donations and other sources of funding will lower that number dramatically.

Since our cautious council seems prepared to swallow this cost, worst-case permitting, another way of looking at the financial structure around the project is more along the lines of “the glass is half full” approach — how much more money could grants and private donations, possibly in the form of a legacy fund, raise so that the indoor pool so many residents dream about can materialize?

An indoor community pool would be a huge boost to Invermere and the valley on many levels. TSN featured the Heart of the Rockies triathlon in the Kraft Celebration Tour, yet local competitive swimmers don’t have a proper facility to train in when the lake isn’t warm. With the imminent privatization of Radium’s hot pools, the future of the swim club is uncertain. And a nearby rec centre with a pool is often a gamechanger for real estate sales. The DOI is presented with a great opportunity; let’s hope council decides to dive in headfirst.