Residents can help make pool partnership long-term

Lake Cowichan – Re: Lake Cowichan has equal access to the Cowichan Aquatic Centre (CAC) Cowichan Valley Citizen All the citizens of Lake Cowichan have reason to celebrate as for $3,000, or $2 per household, we now have equal access to the Cowichan Aquatic Centre for one year.

This agreement means we now pay the same monthly, yearly, or daily access fee rates as people from Duncan, Victoria, or Nanaimo. However, my understanding is that the dissenting Lake Cowichan councillors, who have consistently opposed our partnership for the pool (for a measly $3,000, or $2 per household a year), have insisted that a “for or against” question be included with upcoming February 2014 utility bills.

Although this is not be a binding referendum, if more town residents exercise their NO vote than the supporting YES residents, this may be used as ammunition by the dissenting town councillors to negate the option to extend the agreement for four more years.

With this in mind, Mayor Ross Forrest, who is a partnership supporter, is on the record as saying that council is looking for “more public input” and as I understand it, there are several council members who still fail to see the health, financial and other benefits of CAC equal access.

Prior to this equal access agreement with the CAC many young Lake Cowichan families have had little choice but to go to Ladysmith, Victoria, or Nanaimo for affordable swimming lessons for their kids, who live on a lake, where the ability to swim is a huge safety issue.

Furthermore, elderly citizens on fixed incomes previously have had financial barriers prohibiting access to local swimming/aquatic activities that are paramount for the health of any citizen with limited mobility, rehabilitation issues, or post injury/surgery recovery requirements.

In my opinion, which I understand resonates with many Lake Cowichan residents, the benefits, financial, health, and otherwise of being an active partner in the Cowichan Aquatic Centre for the long term far outweigh the very minimal cost to the taxpayer.

I would argue that Duncan is local and many Lake Cowichan residents and friends thereof, work there, so by encouraging use of the pool in Duncan, participants are more likely to spend their money in local restaurants or shops when in Duncan rather than Victoria or Nanaimo.

In addition, being a partner in the Cowichan Aquatic Centre is very likely something a middle class family with kids would consider when deciding on moving to Lake Cowichan bringing in healthy new residents that promote the growth of our town.

In closing, I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved in the CAC partnering process and encourage those Lake Cowichan residents in favor of long-term partnership with the Cowichan Aquatic Centre to talk to your friends, neighbours, and family, encouraging them to make their wishes known to the Lake Cowichan town council.

Lake Cowichan being a long-term partner in the Cowichan Aquatic Centre is the healthy sensible choice for the greater good of citizens of all ages.

Ted Gamble

Lake Cowichan