Regionel pool project makes a comeback

Added: Wed, 07/05/2017 - 11:30pm
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Allyson Beauregard

FORT-COULONGE – The idea of creating an indoor pool in the Pontiac resurfaced when, during the monthly Council of Mayors meeting, June 20 (see page 6), all 18 Pontiac mayors indicated their support “in principle” for a proposal made by Jane Toller to construct an indoor pool in Fort-Coulonge.
The project would include a 25 meter, six-lane swimming pool, a therapeutic pool, and hot tub, among other things. Toller, accompanied by Guylaine Marcil, former Director of Services of the Mansfield CLSC, sited an aging population and increased health concerns as the main motivations behind the project. “Why should Pontiac residents have to drive [out of the area] to get to an indoor pool?” stressed Toller, who travels to Pembroke for an aquafit course. 
The idea of installing a municipal pool began in 2010 when a study commissioned by the CLD and other partners identified Campbell's Bay, Shawville and Fort-Coulonge as appropriate sites for the pool. A lack of agreement resulted in the project being abandoned.
By building on the study and researching the practices of other Canadian Regionel pools, Toller believes she will be able to create a design tailored to the needs of Pontiac residents. A committee of about 8 members, including at least three members of the previous Pool Committee, will be formed to oversee the project.
The plan is to build the facility on municipal property beside the arena in Fort-Coulonge. “The pool will be for the entire Pontiac, but we chose Fort-Coulonge for three reasons: 26% of the Pontiac's population lives there (combining Fort-Coulonge and Mansfield); it's a central location for driving; and a recent study listed five areas in need of revitalization - Fort-Coulonge was one of them,” said Toller, explaining “We need to serve as many people as possible with as much programming as possible,” she added, emphasizing the location needs to be accessible to residents seven days a week and more users would help to better fund the pool's operation.
Toller expects the facility will be funded by both provincial and federal grants, contributions from the private sector, as well as each municipality. She will return to the Council of Mayors in August with a financial plan, she hopes to see construction begin by late 2018.