Cost cutting means you may have to get your exercise outside this summer in Campbell River

City council will consider closing the Sportsplex for two months this summer in an effort to trim its 2012 budget

City council will consider closing the Sportsplex for two months this summer in an effort to trim its 2012 budget and erase a $3.6 million deficit.

Council discussed closing the Sportsplex in July and August, as well as closing Centennial Pool, during its financial planning meeting Tuesday night after the Mirror went to press.

The city said it would lose $67,000 in revenue but that would be offset by a savings of  $111,000 by closing the Sportsplex for two months.

The closure would eliminate roughly 29,800 visits; 1,000 hours of service; and approximately 160 outside rentals.

According to Laura Ciarniello, the city’s manager of corporate services, if the Sportsplex closed in July and August, summer youth camps and sports camps offered at the Sportsplex would be cancelled and the weight room, squash courts and racquetball ball courts would be unavailable.

A total of 15 special summertime events such as Movies Under the Stars, Special Olympics Silent Auction, Canada Day skate park event, and slo-pitch tournaments would be cancelled.

Service to users such as beach volleyball, mixed slo-pitch league play, men’s and ladies’ slo-pitch as well as Campbell River badminton and Taoist Tai Chi user groups would also be eliminated.

A summer closure would also negatively affect city staffing and increase the risk of vandalism.

“Closing the Sportsplex for the months of July and August would result in a significant disruption to human resources throughout the city as laid off Sportsplex staff would bump into other positions,” reads a city financial report to council. “We would expect an increase in vandalism and damage to the facility so staff would recommend contracting security at a cost of approximately $16,000.”

The city is also considering closing outdoor Centennial Pool, which would save the city $121,000 but result in the loss of 216 hours of swimming lessons, 2,160 participants and a total of 14,112 visits.

The Campbell River Salmon Kings swim club would be especially hard hit by any closure and warn that closing the pool for one year could cost the city more in the long run.

“I would be very concerned about damage to the pool tank which would require very costly repairs resulting in not just a closure this year but a permanent closure,” said Janice Scriba, Campbell River Salmon Kings president, in a letter to council. “The Campbell River Salmon Kings really care. The outdoor pool is our home from June to mid-August when our season comes to a close. I think you will see that our very existence relies on the annual opening of the outdoor pool.”

The Salmon Kings have collected signatures on a petition and have created a Facebook page in an effort to save the pool. To date, 289 people have lent their support.

Scriba said losing the pool would be devastating to a club that last year had 90 swimmers and expects more this year.

“This kind of investment is priceless,” Scriba told council. “I urge you to support on-going funding for operation of the pool. It’s the right choice for all the right reasons.”

Council is also deliberating reducing the scope of programming at the Sportsplex and considering increasing drop-in fees, room rental fees and equipment rental fees at the Sportsplex, Community Centre and Centennial Pool.

City staff have suggested a five per cent increase which would bring in $8,500 in revenue and a five per cent increase in fitness fees which would generate $10,000 for the city.