FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District hopes to finish the information collection phase on the North Peace Leisure Pool by early 2023.
Brad Sperling, chair of the PRRD, says the district wants to conduct consultations with everyone in the Peace region as the pool is considered a regional facility.
Conversations surrounding the future of the pool have been taking place for some time. Public engagements initially started in 2018, led by HCMA Architecture, before being put on hold the following year.
Initially, there were discussions about replacing the leisure pool, but now the stakeholders are looking for answers from the community to see what they really want.
“Take this time over the next six or eight months. Let’s find out what the people really want and give them that information because the end result is they’re the ones paying the bill,” Sperling explained.
City of Fort St. John councillor Trevor Bolin thinks it’s time to look at something “more significant” than the pool.
“It’s time to look at a regional multiplex because for so many years, and you see it in other communities as well, the benefit of everybody coming together as one is two to three times what you’d have if somebody tried to do it on their own,” Bolin said.
“This is probably going to be our last facility like this. Let’s hope that we see a [40 to 60] year timeline with this new facility.”
The potential multiplex could hold a lot of different facilities, not just a pool, including a gymnasium, dry floor space or a rock climbing wall.
Bolin adds that community engagement is essential because they will be spending quite a bit of money on the facility.
“I think people need to realize that that is going to be on their taxes every year of this entire region. Is it worth it? Well, that’s for them to decide,” Bolin said.
“I certainly think so, and I think my kids think so. When we go forward, let’s do this right. Let’s do it one time, and let’s have something we can champion about as a region.”
An in-person open house is taking place on June 7th from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the pool.
“Come down and let us know what you think and we’ll try and do our best to consult, and we’ll be there. We’ll ask some questions,” Sperling said.
A virtual session is scheduled for June 9th, starting at 7 p.m. Log-in details can be viewed below.
An online survey will also beavailablee from June 7th until July 7th.
Research & Co. will be assisting the PRRD by conducting a random survey sample of 500 households by phone in the North Peace. Residents are encouraged to take five minutes to answer the questions.
The full interview can be viewed below: