Golden’s Town Council examined the funding model for the Golden Municipal Swimming pool at the last regular meeting.
The swimming pool, which is solely owned and operated by the Town of Golden, is the first facility being used to examine a model for cost sharing between the municipality and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
Statistics collected by the pool staff throughout the last season indicate that Area A residents of account for roughly a quarter of pool users (28 per cent in May/June, and 23 per cent in July/August).
Manager of Recreation Services Jordan Petrovics, who has been collecting data from swimming pool users for the last three years, says these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.
“A lot of residents weren’t really sure if they lived in Area A or Golden, they’re not really sure where that line lies,” he said.
However, 90.9 per cent of guests who identified themselves as Area A residents, said they believed the pool should be a shared service.
Area A Director Garry Habart, and CSRD CAO Charles Hamilton were in attendance at the meeting, and indicated they weren’t adverse to contributing to this shared service, although perhaps not as much as the Town wants.
“We have this report, which is pretty clear…I’m going to argue for the user stats as the basis for the cost proportions because I believe that’s what’s fair to the rural residents,” said Hamilton.
He argued that if the formula becomes too complicated, and they ask for more than the CSRD thinks its share should be (Hamilton says he would start at 22 per cent), than it will get stuck in bureaucracy.
“That’s going to take months and months to hammer that out…Why don’t we try to get you a dollar amount and it will give you some budget relief next year.”
Council moved to request the CSRD provide up to a certain dollar amount, taken out of the Economic Opportunities Fund or Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funds, as cost sharing on the swimming pool. The portion they fund will likely be based on the tracked usage statistics for Area A residents at the pool.
“That will go forward to the CSRD, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from them in the near future,” said Mayor Christina Benty.
The data collected at the pool also revealed some important information for future programming at the facility. Usage is up from the previous year for most programs, and staff will use the date to optimize the schedule in the future. There were approximately 9,906 separate visits to the pool during 2014 operations, up from 9,700 the year before, and a drastic increase from 7,400 visits in 2012.
Petrovics gives a lot of credit to the pool staff for making it a enjoyable facility to visit. Satisfaction for staff helpfulness is at 96 per cent for 2014, and friendliness of staff is at 94 per cent.
“The staff is truly our strongest asset,” he said.