Consultant suggests closing Tony Rose Memorial pool

December 10, 2014   ·   0 Comments

Monteith Brown Planning Consultants, who did an Indoor Facility Assessment on the Tony Rose Memorial and Alder Street recreation centres, have recommended the Town consider closing the Tony Rose pool and repurposing it for a different type of indoor activity.

Throughout the study, the consultant team found that the number of people currently using the pools could be accommodated by the Alder Street pool.

Anand Desai, who spoke to Orangeville Council Monday night on behalf of the firm, explained that with the current level of usage needed repairs to the Tony Rose pool would involve a too-high capital cost for the town. Should the town decide to keep the pool open, repairs would cost about $800,000.

That would increase the approximate $200,000 deficit in annual operational costs.

However, Councillors Gail Campbell and Scott Wilson opposed the recommendation, citing the important role the pool plays in the community.

“There are a number of seniors that use the Tony Rose pool, because of its central location,” said Councillor Campbell. “It is within travel distance for many of them, making it more convenient for those who might not be able to access it otherwise.”

The last time discussions arose about the possibility of closing the pool, there was a lot of outrage, and Councillor Campbell added that she could foresee that happening again.

“It’s going to create a large issue politically if we pursue this,” she said.

Councillor Wilson, who tabled the motion to accept the report and have council take the firm’s recommendations under consideration, said he was willing to amend the motion in order to help keep the issue in a discussion phase for this term.

“I have no problem saying that during this term of council, we will not close the pool,” he said.

Councillor Nick Garisto suggested the public be consulted as to whether Council should spend the funds needed to keep the pool open rather than closing it, but agreed that deciding to shut it down based solely on the recommendation by the consulting firm was not appropriate.

According to Mr. Desai, in the Greater Toronto Area, 30,000 to 40,000 residents are typically supported by one pool, rather than the two Orangeville has.

Other results from the assessment included figures on the feasibility of the Town’s four indoor ice pads and how well they were being used. About 70 percent of the prime-time ice hours are currently being used, and based on the numbers, it found that the town requires more than three ice pads, but less than four.

“This is one of the very few times that this has happened to us during an assessment,” said Mr. Desai. “We found that Orangeville is kind of at that tipping point.”

Mr. Desai went on to recommend that Council maintain the four ice pads currently in operation, but to monitor the usage over the next five years to see whether those numbers will continue to support the need for four rinks.

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