By Maya Jarjour
Pierrefonds-Roxboro residents can expect their borough’s first public swimming pool to open by the end of June 2014.
The remaining pools throughout Pierrefonds are privately owned by non-profit organizations and are subsidized by the city.
Construction started at the former Valleycrest pool site at Grier Park in September. The new facility will feature an eight-lane, 25-meter pool with two diving boards, a baby pool, a water park and a 500 sq. metre clubhouse, all for the cost of $5.2 million.
According to Mayor Jim Beis, the city decided to look at replacing the borough’s aging inventory of community’s pools, which were built 40-50 years ago.
He told The Suburban that times have changed. Until 20-25 years ago, pool membership was quite high and expenses relatively low.
“We discovered many issues that needed to be addressed and the non-profit organizations just couldn’t do that with the revenue that they were generating,” he told The Suburban. “Then, we started looking at infrastructure and facilities. The decision was that we would look at rebuilding, to today’s standards, a municipal pool or pools that would be available to the general population and not necessarily require membership per say.”
The Valleycrest Aquatic Association transferred the ownership of its pool at 4600 Cageux.
“In return for giving up the land, we’re getting a brand new big and beautiful pool,” said Valleycrest Aquatic Association president Laura Derry.
“Working with the city has been very amicable. It’s big news in our community here that this pool is coming, and I hope that it will attract a lot of people.”
The Valleycrest Aquatic Association will be running the programming of the pool. “We organize a swim team, a synchronization swimming team, a water polo team and a diving team, as well as swimming lessons and aqua fit courses,” added Derry.
“They were involved from the outset with the planning because ultimately they’re the experts,” explained Beis. “They were the ones who were running it and managing it all those years, so it was important for us to have them involved.”
The Valleycrest Pool was chosen for a number of reasons, the main one being it “the last element that was needed to complete Grier Park as a recreational facility,” said Beis. “It was the last piece of the puzzle after the synthetic field and the municipal chalet for our soccer association were completed. At the same time, demographically and geographically, the pool was doing very well in terms of membership.”
Beis added that it will be too costly to build more pools in the short term. “Realistically, I don’t see that happening in this mandate simply because it’s a lot of money,” he said.
In the meantime, he added, the city will continue to subsidize the pools throughout Pierrefonds.
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