Vanderhoof Tests The Waters With Aquatic Centre Study

District of Vanderhoof

2012 - In the spring of 2010, the District of Vanderhoof undertook a Community Aquatic Facility Feasibility Study to assess the business case and engineering requirements of constructing a new indoor aquatic centre in the community.

The District retained a qualified professional consultant to develop a process to determine whether or not a project of this magnitude was currently feasible in Vanderhoof. As the need for an aquatic facility in Vanderhoof has been discussed for a number of years prior to this feasibility study, the consultant reviewed previous concepts and presented a report with recommendations to the District of Vanderhoof that provided an attractive facility design that would also be as financialy viable as possible.

The study was completed over a six month period and involved a number of key steps including: meetings with the District, Recreation Department staff and local groups; a review of background materials and demographic information; research related to trends in aquatic facility design and use; an investigation into the location of an aquatic facility in the immediate area; a review of the economics of aquatic facilities; the development of information related to capital and operating costs and their impact on local taxpayers; and the preparation and presentation of a draft and final report.

The consultants concluded that there was a need and desire for an indoor aquatic centre in the community and suggested two options for the Vanderhoof area. The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako is holding a referendum in 2012 to determine if the residents would support the municipality in moving forward with the project.

"The feasibility study, co-funded by Northern Development, was critical in terms of gauging community support for a pool and determining the best course of action going forward. This report identified design criteria, potential sites, estimates on construction costs and land acquisition, staffing requirements and annual operating costs as well as economic and social impacts and public interest."

Gerry Thiessen, Mayor, District of Vanderhoof

"We have to look at what's best for our community down the road...we've had this process with the arena and it's the same thing - large operating costs, no revenue - none of these things are going to make money, but we need them to attract people to our community."

Brian Frenkel, Resident, Vanderhoof

"From a professional perspective I can tell you that I deal with people on a daily basis who would greatly benefit from moving and exercise in water. I have to send a lot of people to Prince George to exercise because we don't have anything here."

Richard Van Erp, Physiotherapist, Vanderhoof

"Based on this information, the project has become a Regional District of Bulkley Nechako initiative and they are planning a referendum in 2012.  The District of Vanderhoof wishes to thank Northern Development Initiative Trust for their contribution to this project. It could not have proceeded without your help."

Gerry Thiessen, Mayor, District of Vanderhoof

Positive Economic Impacts in Vanderhoof

The District of Vanderhoof has identified a number of potential economic benefits that a new aquatic centre would offer the community. Naturally, the operation and maintenance of an aquatic facility would create direct and indirect employment in Vanderhoof, especially for youth in the community throughout the year.
A community pool would support additional diversification within Vanderhoof's economy by providing new recreational amenities that many view as necessary to attract new business and residents to the area. In fact, the District of Vanderhoof has stated that numerous organizations within the community have expressed the need for increased recreation options to recruit workers to the area. A pool facility will also allow Vanderhoof to take a more prominent role in sports tourism by hosting regional and provincial acquatic events. Every major tournament that can be attracted to Vanderhoof significantly benefits small business in the community as visitors stay overnight and purchase goods and services at a variety of local businesses.

This feasibility study was successfully completed and is now being used to inform residents as the regional district looks to hold a referendum in 2012 and a decision on how the region should move forward with an aquatic centre in Vanderhoof.