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Feb. 24, 2020 | Monday
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Town launches campaign for $5M St. Davids pool
A rendering for the proposed St. Davids pool. (Sourced)

Construction of a new St. Davids swimming pool is moving forward – with a much bigger pricetag than originally estimated – and community volunteers are being recruited to help raise money to pay for it.

The project’s initial cost of $2.5 million to $3 million, has ballooned to $5 million due to expanding it to six lanes from the original four, adding solar panels on the rooftop and some other internal amenities, said Kevin Turcotte, the town’s manager of parks and recreation.

The town applied for a $4.7 million joint federal-provincial Community, Culture and Recreation grant under Ottawa’s infrastructure program. It provides a maximum of $5 million for an individual project. 

The grant funding consists of a 40 per cent federal contribution, 33.33 per cent from the province and the town responsible for contributing 26.67 per cent. The town allocated $100,000 for the project in 2020.

“The design can always be modified, depending on funding levels. The project will be scaled to meet our budget,” said Turcotte.

Grant applicants should know this spring or summer how much they will receive, according to the provincial program guidelines.

The pool’s construction, originally scheduled to start after the summer season ends in 2020, will depend on the grant results and how much money is raised through fundraising, Turcotte said.

Last fall, the St. Davids and District Lions Club donated $10,000 for the pool.

In addition to the St. Davids Ratepayers Association sponsoring the Niagara-on-the-Lake Golf Classic Tournament that raised $32,000 for the pool, the town also recently received a “miscellaneous donation” of $1,000 from a construction company, Turcotte said.

In November, town staff placed an advertisement looking for fundraising committee members. The ad in the Niagara This Week newspaper and posted on the town’s website received “zero response” from the community, Turcotte said. Another posting in December also yielded no applicants.

At the committee of the whole planning meeting on Feb. 3, Lord Mayor Betty Disero said she will reach out to the St. Davids Ratepayers Association and the St. Davids Lions Club to ask each of the organizations to provide two members for the committee.

Couns. Gary Burroughs and John Wiens also volunteered to join.

Allen Snider, a former president of the St. Davids Lions Club, said he doesn’t see the town being able to afford to have an indoor pool and had he seen an advertisement looking for committee members, the Lions Club would have put some names forward right away.

“It is not that there isn’t any interest,” Snider told The Lake Report. “I don’t remember seeing the ad myself or whatever it was. I just feel like people didn’t see it.”

After the lord mayor contacted the club, there was a lot of interest from people, he said, so the club members picked Susan Snider and Joe Typer to sit on the committee.

“Our Lions Club is excited to start the fundraising,” he said, adding the funds from the upcoming golf tournament in June will also go toward the project.

Turcotte said he thinks a lot of people were waiting to hear the grant results before applying to the committee.

“Because a grant will give us a good idea of how much contribution the town will have to give through fundraising and/or through the capital budget,” Turcotte said in a phone interview. “I think a lot of people are waiting to see the results of that to see the next steps.”

Once the committee is filled, the town will work on setting a “realistic goal” of how much money is required for the new pool, Turcotte said.

Interested residents can apply by filling out a form under the St. Davids Swimming Pool Committee category on the town’s Committees and Boards 2018-2022 webpage.

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