Feasibility study sought for regional aquatic centre in South Okanagan

The Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) and the Towns of Oliver and Osoyoos are dipping the first toe in the water when it comes to collaborating on a possible indoor aquatic centre in the South Okanagan.

A request for proposal for a feasibility study with a maximum budget of $ 75,000 has been issued by the Town of Osoyoos in collaboration with the Town of Oliver and the Osoyoos Indian Band. The study will assess the feasibility of building and operating a regional aquatic centre in the area. The study must be completed before Oct. 31, 2021.

The three communities have “long expressed desire for a year-round indoor aquatic facility to enhance quality of life, provide leisure and fitness activities, attract amenity migrants to the region, promote economic development and serve the visitor population including a growing winter season ‘snowbird’ population,” reads a press release from the Town of Oliver.

“The Osoyoos Indian Band fully supports moving forward with a feasibility study for the Regional Aquatic Centre,” said OIB Chief Clarence Louie. “We understand and appreciate that the value of a collaborative approach to a centralized amenity is for the betterment of all of our communities.”

The three communities are “now ready to approach these discussions in a more formal regional setting,” states the Town of Oliver press release, with many planning and financial factors that need to be understood before moving forward.

A South Okanagan Aquatic Centre advisory committee will be formed with members from each community and their councils who will be designing the public engagement and consultation process to come.

“Recreation and leisure sport play an important role in communities,” said Mayor of Oliver Martin Johansen. “Their many benefits include improving the health and well-being of individuals and promoting the development of inclusive communities. Oliver is pleased to partner with Osoyoos Indian Band and the Town of Osoyoos in undertaking this feasibility study for a Regional Aquatic Centre.”

“An indoor public pool continues to be a high priority for many local Osoyoos residents,“ said Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff. “A recent community services review showed that this issue is top of the list for area families. But since the cost of a pool and the ongoing cost for operating a pool is high and could be difficult to manage for any single municipality, I am pleased that Osoyoos, Oliver and the Osoyoos Indian Band are working together to undertake a feasibility study.”