Gerald Filipski has an online petition calling for the establishment of a pool and fitness facility in Parksville. — Michael Briones photo

Petition started for Parksville pool

Public push gets underway as council explores the possibility

A Parksville man is rallying the community to support the creation of a pool and fitness centre in Parksville.

Gerald Filipski started a petition more than two weeks ago to highlight the need.

He was prompted by conditions at the Ravensong Pool in Qualicum Beach, which is now bursting at the seams, he said. He feels the money that is going to be spent on renovating Ravensong should be applied on building a pool and fitness facility in Parksville.

“We been going to Ravensong for aquafit for probably eight to nine years and it gets overcrowded there,” said Filipski. “They’re in the process of doing renovations and I am not sure if that’s the right way of spending the money. I decided to grab the bull by the horns and get regional support. I think it’s important that we get behind it and show the mayor and council that we want this to happen.”

Filipski is hoping to attain 1,000 signatures and he is confident he can reach it as he already has close to 800 supporters online.

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“I’d be happy with a thousand but whatever we get on top of that is a bonus,” said Filipski. “The more we show them we are in support of this, we’re better off.”

Building a new aquatic and fitness centre in Parksville is a more logical choice said Filipski as it is more central and can also serve Nanoose Bay. As well he feels the age demographic in Parksville is a more diverse one than what they have in Qualicum Beach.

“If we want to attract younger people to come and work in service industries or whatever here, having a facility like a pool and fitness centre is a must,” said Filipski. “I think we’ve been lacking on that for a long time.”

As well, Filipski pointed out that 70 per cent of the people who use the pool are from Parksville.

“It’s a no-brainer,” said Filipski.

The City of Parksville is exploring the possibility of building a pool or recreation facility as one of council’s five core priorities. Staff is preparing a request for proposals looking for consultants to undertake a feasibility study. A budget of up to $75,000 has been allotted.

Parksville council has already acknowledged that construction of a major recreation facility will be at a high cost even with the procurement of grants. Borrowing, tax increases and partnerships are possible options. The city projects operational costs for a pool and a new recreation department with appropriate staffing levels would require around $2 million annually.

Mayor Ed Mayne and councillor Adam Fras, who both also serve as directors in the Regional District of Nanaimo board, also did not agree with the plan to renovate the Ravensong Pool as they would like to determine first the options the City of Parksville can take to build its own pool as well as multi-sport facility.

Those wishing to sign the petition can go online at http://chng.it/DvDx8N9h

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