Please Fill Our Pool! A Swimming Pool for Smiths Falls & Area
W. J. Wood Brokers Ltd.
Smiths Falls, Ontario
September 24, 2012
More than 1,000
Overview:The town of Smiths Falls boasts of being ‘the Heart of the Rideau Canal’: a destination for cottagers and tourists who come to boat, play and enjoy its waterways. But for the citizens of the town, and the thousands of rural families living close-by, there is no facility where they can learn to swim.
The residents of Smiths Falls lost their only indoor swimming pool in 2009, when the Ontario Government closed the Rideau Regional Centre. The empty pool fell victim to rust and corrosion, dried-out seals, and chipping paint. Children cannot get swimming lessons. There is no swim team for the high school student who aspires to swim in the Olympics. The best exercise for many citizens suffering from chronic pain -- swimming -- is not accessible to them.
‘The Hub’ wants to change this. And soon.
What is “The Hub”?
“The Hub, Recreation, Arts and Athletic Association” is a non-profit organization made up of finance, health, fitness, and business professionals volunteering their time and unified by a vision: re-opening the Smiths Falls pool. These individuals have met together on numerous evenings and have made a solid plan to repair, open, and manage the indoor pool located in the former Rideau Regional Centre (now called ‘The Gallipeau Centre’). The members of ‘The Hub’ are committed to providing a suite of athletic services to Smiths Falls area residents, but their primary goal is to have the swimming pool re-opened in early 2013. To this end, they ask Aviva Insurance Company to come alongside them.
Re-opening the Pool – What Does ‘The Hub’ Need?
The contractors have been lined up, and the public is crying for their pool; but the successful re-opening of this facility will require funding in the following areas:
- Resurfacing and painting the pool
- Replacing the rusted drains and worn-out decking
- Face-lifting the change rooms with a fresh coat of paint and new fixtures
- Converting the pool to a salt water system to minimize the undesirable effects of high chemical levels (i.e. eye soreness, dry skin, green hair, and bleached-out swimming suits caused by chlorine). This will allow a higher percentage of the public to enjoy the facility.
The Hub is seeking $99,000 to make this all happen.
How will a pool help our community?
A professional market research study* done in 2010 concluded that a swimming pool would be a successful addition to the town of Smiths Falls. It estimated that out of the 30, 000 people in the surrounding area, 10% (3,000+ citizens) would use the facility regularly. People have already been calling The Hub from as far away as Kemptville, eager to find out when the pool will be open!
A swimming pool will provide immense value to all Smiths Falls and area residents, including those with physical disabilities and the senior citizen population. In addition to obvious benefits (swimming lessons, healthy family activity, Aqua fit classes etc.), a pool will bring economic benefits to the town, helping it to become a destination of choice for living, working, and playing!
Is it sustainable?
The Hub’s business plan includes income generated from membership and user fees. Their landlord (TAG Gallipeau Corporation) has agreed to provide the lease at minimal cost until user ship reaches a sustainable level. Supported by the study referenced above, The Hub is confident that with careful business planning, the pool will be open for many years to come!
In the last five years, the Smiths Falls community lost the Hershey Chocolate Factory, Stanley Tools, and the Rideau Regional Centre. Numerous jobs were lost, and it has been a struggle for many. But the re-opening of the swimming pool has become a symbol of our resiliency: plans have already begun. The Hub’s Board of Directors and volunteers are enthusiastic; motivated by the opportunity to offer a recreational facility to the Smiths Falls community.
As Hub spokesperson, Robert Rodine, said in an interview with CBC Radio, “We are really optimistic. This (Aviva contest) funding would do absolute wonders for the project … but the spirit of community that this project has created has been so fantastic.”
Thank you Aviva for giving us hope!
* Study done by dmA Planning & Management Services/June 23, 2010
This project In the media:
Radio Interview with All In A Day (CBC Radio) December 18th, 2012
TV Feature on CBC TV (Ottawa News) December 8, 2012
Article in the Brockville Paper (BNTV News) December 6, 2012
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