A new non-profit organization wants to buy Scona Pool and reopen it to the public.
The city closed the pool on Oct. 3 due to costly repairs and system failures but the Scona Pool Community Foundation – created early September – believes it can raise $1 million to reopen it.
Andrew Burke, director of business development and programing for the foundation, said they want to purchase the facility for $1 and take over all liability and responsibility for repairs and ongoing maintenance and continue to run the programming.
Burke, a former head lifeguard at Scona Pool and certified pool operator from the Alberta Association of Recreation Facility Personnel, said if the plan is accepted, they will commit to extended swim hours for the public and lower fees.
The Scona Pool is located in Edmonton's Queen Alexandra neighbourhood.
The 65-year-old facility was shut after the city determined that the $6-million repair bill was too expensive for them to take on.
In a report posted to the city's website late September, the city said the facility's heating plant and heat exchanger had stopped working.
So far the foundation has raised $11,000 in donation pledges, although Burke said they are not collecting anything until they get the go-ahead from the city, and they have an agreement with a local trade union to replace the heat exchanger for free.
"That's $86,300 off the report," he told CBC's Edmonton AM this week.
The City of Edmonton confirmed they are in talks with the foundation.
"At this time, it is premature to discuss any potential sale of the facility," Pascale Ladouceur, the city's branch manager of infrastructure planning and design, said in an email.
"The sale of any city property is a comprehensive process. In this case, even more complex as the Edmonton Public School Board owns the land the pool is built on and would need to be involved in any discussions."
Burke said they want to be in ownership of the pool as soon as possible and are hoping to have it reopened by the end of November.
"We don't have any need for downtime because the structure according to the report is an acceptable condition," he said.
They plan on working on repairs while operating the pool simultaneously to save money, Burke said.
The foundation is in talks with union groups and businesses for donations and sponsorships and they are targeting grants such as the Community Facilities Enhancement program from the province. Burke said the reason their fundraising goal is a million dollars is so that the province can match it through this program.
If reopened, the non-profit plans on keeping the pool operational until the Rollie Miles Recreation Facility opens. However, so far city council has only approved preliminary design funding for the project.