The City of Fredericton announced yesterday that it is forming a partnership with the YMCA to explore development of an indoor pool and field house. We congratulate them on this development and wish them well.
UNB has a long history of providing a pool to the greater Fredericton community – for nearly 100 years, citizens have been able to enjoy the Lady Beaverbrook Residence Pool and then the Sir Max Aitken Pool.
Last spring, we announced the closure of the Sir Max Aitken Pool and the Lady Beaverbrook Gymnasium in which it is housed.
Over the last many months, we met with pool user groups to outline a vision for a new pool we hoped would be built on campus in partnership with the City. While we are disappointed that did not come to life, we appreciate the significant impact a pool closure will have on the people and groups who rely on it.
With that in mind, earlier today we reached out to the City with an offer to keep the pool open for another year while it seeks a new solution for the community’s aquatic needs. While we have always been concerned about the expense of extending the life of the pool, we feel a deep sense of civic commitment.
While we will move ahead this fall with the decommissioning of the Lady Beaverbrook Gymnasium as part of our commitment to the federal and provincial governments in the construction of the new kinesiology building, we are willing to keep the pool in operation until September of 2019.
Keeping it open will not only give the City time to put in place other temporary measures for swimmers such as a modular pool while it works toward a new facility, it will also give the City the opportunity to receive a grant in lieu of property taxes for the Lady Beaverbrook Gymnasium.
We’ve proposed to the City a cost-sharing agreement for the operation of the pool during a year-long extension of its life. While we know that only 16 per cent of users of the Sir Max Aitken Pool are from UNB, we are prepared to pay more than our usage to help make this happen.
We will cover 20 per cent of net operational costs plus some staff costs to keep the pool open for a year. When combined, our contribution of some $190,000 amounts to about 40 per cent of total estimated net operational costs.
Should the City agree, its contribution would be about 60 per cent – about $300,000 after deducting the grant in lieu of property taxes of almost $100,000.
We hope that this offer of a one-year extension is helpful to the City, to the citizens of Fredericton and to the users who have enjoyed the Sir Max Aitken Pool for so long.
Dr. George MacLean
Vice-President Academic (Fredericton)