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No more tiers for Lake Cowichan pool users

Access to the Cowichan Aquatic Centre is now available on an equal basis to Lake Cowichan residents. Previously, they paid $12 for drop-in swims — double the regular rate — and similarly inflated prices for other pool-hosted programs. - Andrew Leong/file
Access to the Cowichan Aquatic Centre is now available on an equal basis to Lake Cowichan residents. Previously, they paid $12 for drop-in swims — double the regular rate — and similarly inflated prices for other pool-hosted programs.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

Town of Lake Cowichan residents no longer have to pay double to use the Cowichan Aquatic Centre — at least for the time being.

Duncan, North Cowichan and Lake Cowichan announced a deal yesterday to immediately end the two-tier fee structure at the pool for Lake Cowichan residents.

The deal — for one year, with an option to renew — means just Cowichan Lake South (Area F) and Youbou (Area I) will continue to pay under the two-tier system.

“I’m pretty happy as it makes the great facilities at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre more affordable for Lake Cowichan residents and people here enrolling their kids in swimming programs,” said Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest. “We’ve been having discussions for a couple of years. It’s been a long time coming.”

Lake Cowichan taxpayers will contribute $3,000 toward the pool, working out to about $2 per household. The mayor believes that’s “pretty reasonable.”

“We have options to extend it (the agreement) for four years and we’ll be sending out a notice in our utility bill for people to come into the office to say whether or not they think we should continue to go into the pool in 2015. We’re looking for more public input.

“We tried to get it done to include the other two areas as well but it just didn’t work out, so the town goes into it on its own.”

Lake Cowichan resident Ted Gamble has been instrumental in the switch. He set up a Facebook page last January entitled ‘Lake Cowichan needs access to the Duncan Pool’ with 113 people joining.

“It’s outstanding we now have better access to a multi-million dollar facility,” said Gamble. “It think the agreement is fabulous and I’m hoping we stay partners for the long term.

“We live by a lake, so the kids need to know how to swim. There shouldn’t be a barrier.”

“I’m very pleased to have the Town of Lake Cowichan as a participating community so its citizens can enjoy this excellent facility. I really appreciate the efforts made by Mayor Forrest and his council in helping make this a reality,” stated Duncan Mayor Phil Kent in a media release.

North Cowichan Mayor Lefebure said he remains hopeful that in the near future he can reach an agreement to eliminate two-tier fees for the citizens of Areas F and I.

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