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Letter From President Regarding Commonwealth Place Future

To Our Members

As you may be aware, since 1994 Saanich Commonwealth Place (SCP) pool has been governed by a Review Board and High Performance User Committee (HPUC) under an Operating Agreement, with both rates and guaranteed rules of access controlled through an associated Trust Fund. The Operating Agreement and Trust Fund are both expiring in August 2020. As part of a new allocations policy approved by Saanich Council in September, the District will have the ability to decline swim meet requests based on operational need.

The most concerning issue going forward will be staff recommendations with respect to the directive in the Parks and Recreation report dated September 5, 2019, namely that: “staff will be reviewing the types of meets offered, streamlining meets and events, reducing the number of meets on weekends and capping attendance at some meets. These changes are meant to create more space and time for public during weekends, where the lack of access is a common public complaint.”

The Parks and Recreation Report also states that: “Staff will work with HP Clubs to streamline pool use and maximize space usage during weekly prime time, allowing for access by the public to what is considered prime time. These changes would be done in consultation with current users as part of the development of a new allocations policy.”

In January the Municipality will be engaging in a process that is still undefined in order to determine whether and how the SCP access rules will change. Saanich has also committed to a limited increase of 6% per year through to 2030, but the rules for High Performance access may change as Council has directed that staff review.

Over the next few months we are hopeful that the pool staff will come up with recommendations that do not significantly change the club high performance access that has been in place now for over 25 years. Nevertheless, we recommend that members of all clubs should educate themselves as fully as possible about the situation since a unified public response from Swimming, Diving, Synchronized Swimming and Water Polo would represent the best chance for positive input in the face of any concerning recommendations. The time between Notification to Public and recommendations being presented at Council may only be 4 days, as happened in September with the attached Staff report, and there may not be time to bring everyone up to date if we need to collectively attend a meeting of Saanich Council.

We are posting the attached documents on our club website and ask that our members take time to
read them over the next few weeks. The documents are:

1) HP User Summary
2) Full HP User submission
3) Saanich Staff Report dated September 5, 2019

We are planning an information meeting for coaches and club board members on Tuesday January
14, tentatively at 7:45 PM at Saanich Commonwealth Place Pool. We will send out more
information after this meeting regarding any next steps.

Thank you,
Doreen Meldrum, President
On behalf of PCSPA Board