The first issue that really got my blood boiling was a front-page article in the Tribune on the city’s swimming facilities. Apparently, the city hired an engineer to take stock of the city’s pools, and suggests $2-3 Million in repairs and upgrades. While some of the recommendations are repairs and may make sense (new gutters and filters, etc.), a number of the ideas seem to be cooked up out of an idea that “You have to entertain the swimmer, rather than just give him a pool of water” (quoted from the prospective contractor).
It is thinking like this that gave our city the multi-million dollar white elephant flow rider. We will be paying the bill for that thing for years, and the only net result has made a Sunday outing to Mitchell Pool less affordable and enjoyable (“But Dad, Why can’t I ride the $9 per day Flow Rider????”)
Included in this grand scheme are some truly bad ideas for “upgrades” to the Marony Natatorium:
Addition of a hot-water spa would run $97,000, and wave-generation equipment would add $112,000. Expanding the building with an atrium and event room would cost another $523,500, Milne said. (from the article)
Excuse me, but why does the Nat need a hot water spa, wave-generation equipment, an atrium or an event room? I swim at the Nat during my lunch hour three times per week (or at least I try to do so). It is usually quite crowded as it is. Why fix what isn’t broken?
I will go on the record and state my opinion—the city should provide holes in the ground with clean water. Efforts should be made to keep those holes in the ground affordable to the most people possible.
Anything fancier than a hole in the ground should be left to private developers. If a business model could be made for a positive cash flowing wave rider, it would be built. If not, it should be left alone.