Sicamous council recently dove into discussion about a community swimming pool.
The pros and cons of a public pool, a conversation that has been ongoing in the district, emerged once more at the Sept. 13 council meeting. Cost has been a major consideration, as has location and what kind of amenities could potentially be included.
To gain a better understanding of what a public pool could look like, council spoke with Janice Stamps, owner of Rehab for Life in Evansville, Indiana. Stamps’ swimming facility has two multi-functional pools and her business offers aquatic and land-based occupational and physical therapy, as well as community programming and professional swimming lessons.
She said her pools provide a unique healing environment, which could be popular and beneficial in Sicamous. Water therapy allows for reduced stress on joints, muscle strengthening, increased range of motion in exercises and weight loss, all ideal for a population that is made up of many seniors, said Stamps. She added an indoor pool, useful in the winter months, is a social environment for other community members who aren’t utilizing the medical aspect and her facility also has a separate pool for animal treatment.
A competitive swim training program attracted an Olympic coach to Stamps’ pool and could do the same in the district, she said. She also includes yoga-based classes, water Tai Chi and general counselling in her programming.
This allows for many streams of revenue for Stamps, because she can collect from private insurance companies, workers’ compensation, rental fees and pool memberships. A wellness-based model, focused on prevention, could work well in the district due to its demographics, explained Stamps, and funding could be prioritized because of Sicamous’ recent focus on its rural health-care needs.
“Keep it patient-centred, program things in keeping with why they’re in the area, what’s driving people to the area,” said Stamps of Sicamous’ tourism-based economy. “What we have yet to imagine is what’s standing in our way of other revenue sources.”
Stamps’ pools are both 15 feet by 15 feet, with a double current, treadmills and jet streams. These two, as well as the third, animal-only pool and a locker room area all fit into her 10,000 square foot building. All that was required for her building was a semi-recessed pool lift, she said.
Sicamous is eyeing a 15,000 square foot building, which could start small and expand, said council members.
Coun. Malcolm Makayev also mentioned incorporating the pool into the upcoming Shuswap Healing Centre and possibly accessing some Economic Opportunity Fund money.
Coun. Pam Beech noted there aren’t exercise pools of the same caliber as what’s being discussed in the area, and said people will come from all areas.
“I’m proposing it could pay for itself,” said Beech.
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