(STAFF REPORTS/Chewelah Independent)
The City of Colville announced that it will be closing the Colville City Pool for the 2020 season, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Colville City Council recently made the decision and Colville Mayor Ralph Lane Jr. made a statement about the closure on the city’s website.
“These are such trying times for all worldwide, including us here in Colville,” Lane Jr. said. “First and foremost, I want to clarify that this determination by Council was not made by them alone. It was in concurrence with Department heads and Mayor and yet as they are the financial decision-making body for the City, this choice could only have been made by them.”
Operating the city pool costs the city approximately $100K a year, Lane Jr. said and while that changes depending on repairs and other issues that might crop up at the facility, about a third of that is committed to startup costs. This could be an issue for a small city like Colville where they could see the pool never open to the public for restrictions or be open for just a few weeks.
“In any given year, it takes roughly two months of preparation, cleaning, filling, balancing and heating the pool and its water for it to be ready for public use,” Lane Jr. said. “It holds approximately 300,000 gallons of water and so it takes time to complete these tasks and in each season, the costs to open it are about the same.”
The city also has to hire and train staff and the cost-per-month is unpredictable to run the pool because of equipment failures and bad weather causing poor turnout, the mayor added.
Lane Jr. fully supported the council saying that the decision was a heavy one. Along with the safety of those using the pool – where PPE usage would basically be impossible – the City of Colville will have to contend with an upcoming financial situation for all levels of government both state and local. Washington recently announced that government agencies should expect to cut their budgets 10-15 percent for next year.