“Spring is nature's way of saying, ‘Let's party!’” -Robin Williams
I have lived in Warman for over thirty years now and for many of those years there has been an ongoing community discussion about whether or not Warman should have an indoor swimming pool for the community and area to enjoy. This is a good question and one I believe needs some clarity.
Let me tell you a little about my love of the water. I grew up in Saskatoon and had the opportunity to swim very regularly all my life. Since I have moved to Warman I have not had the same opportunity, however, I love the water so much I make the trek to our neighboring City to swim a couple times a week. Believe me when I say I would love to see a swimming pool in Warman. However putting on my Mayor's hat, I know that Warman does not have the population yet to support the huge cost of maintaining this service. Many people ask the question; “If smaller communities can support a swimming pool why can't a City Warman's size?”. Proximity is one answer to that question. Communities that are more remote have no choice but to support the local services. In a community like Warman so close to so many amenities, as much as we benefit from those amenities, they are also competing factors when services here need to be supported to make them viable.
One resident said; “If taxes need to go up to accommodate a pool just raise them”. Well let's have a closer look at that. Now for the practical information all our taxpayers should be aware of when it comes to an aquatic center; Although building an aquatic center will cost a few million dollars, the ongoing operational costs are the big challenge. In most communities that have indoor pools operate at a huge loss. I am talking about a quarter of a million dollar loss every year at least and that is a very low estimate for most aquatic facilities. Then there is staffing these facilities with qualified lifeguards. This too is another task that is very difficult.
It is simple folks, Warman needs a bigger population to take on this kind of debt. This is our reality whether we like it or not. The Legends Center is brand new and we are trying to bring this facility to a point where it can sustain itself. Believe me when I say this is not an easy task. Recreational services are a must in every community, but they come at a high price to the tax payers.
The good news is Warman Council and Administration will begin creating a reserve to at least start preparing for an indoor swimming pool in Warman. For the next number of years money will be budgeted to go into this reserve and when partnerships can be formed regionally, provincially and perhaps federally, we will be positioned to move ahead with an indoor swimming pool project. We are looking at future projects that could make sense to have an indoor pool as part of the mix. Opportunity and possibilities are always presenting themselves here.
Don't become frustrated now, an indoor pool will become a part of this great community in a few years, but for now realized how fortunate we are to live so close to these services in our neighboring City and be able to use them fully.
The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. ~Henry Van Dyke