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Aquatic centre idea should be flushed

The City is already busying itself with the 2010 budget – holding public meetings and forums. That is fine. It is good strategic planning. So now, let us ask some questions.

The City is already busying itself with the 2010 budget – holding public meetings and forums.

That is fine. It is good strategic planning.

So now, let us ask some questions.

What is in the best interest of the general public as far as major capital projects?

There are many things. Some citizens think the City desperately needs an upgraded City Hall. Others say a new museum is a higher priority. And some say a modern concert hall should be at the top of the list.

And we also have a group who maintains the City needs a new aquatic centre that will include a 50-metre pool. In fact, the City just approved $200,000 to create a business plan and a concept model for a new aquatic centre.

Say that again? An aquatic centre?

Does the majority of Red Deer want a new aquatic centre in the near future?

We certainly haven't heard that from anyone.

Sure, it would be nice to have a new facility like that. But is it a need or a want?

We would classify this more as a want at the present time, especially considering the tough economic time we're just starting to pull out of.

City administration and council have done an admirable job this year in developing a 'hold the line' strategy. Many folks are hurting and despite a few missteps (council and staff raises) the City has shown responsible restraint.

Red Deer has a number of other projects that need to be accomplished before a 50-metre pool or new aquatic centre is seriously considered.

The group backing a new aquatic centre has taken every opportunity to share their ideas and to push their thoughts onto everyone else, even at the most inappropriate times.

Earlier this year at a budget meeting, Jack Cuthbertson, a proponent of the aquatic centre, took the opportunity to inform all in attendance the importance of a new facility, when in fact the time was supposed to be used for members of the general public to voice their concerns and give their input regarding what they would like to see in the budget.

The time was not intended to be used for a campaign.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Right now the City should focus on ensuring we have fully recovered from the global economic crisis.

Businesses need time to rebuild and so does the City. An aquatic centre is a luxury we simply can't afford right now.

At this time the aquatic centre idea should be flushed away.