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Pool levy needed with some changes
I like the Oak Harbor pool, I also will vote yes for the levy. That being said, I also agree with some of what A. Morrison wrote in last Wednesday’s paper.
While I agree the community needs a pool, I feel the community does not have a pool. More than once my lap swim times have been adjusted to meet the needs of the swim team. While this is very annoying, I do understand the swim team provides healthy physical activity for our community’s children.
However, while I wholeheartedly support youth activity programs, having raised four children who all played sport, I also believe in balance. The situation at the pool is not balanced. Obvious preferential treatment is given to the swim team. While I understand this is a large, popular program, it is fed by swim lessons and as a result of recruiting efforts in the school district and Whidbey News-Times. It is also supported in part by taxpayers, like myself, who would like to see all programs, including the OHHS swim team, given reasonable time and space to use the pool.
Perhaps the swim club should operate the pool. If they are a growing team, they should be able to pay a large portion of operating costs so they can have all the time they want. Swimmers on the team pay anywhere from $48 to $101 and there are over 100 members on the team. You do the math and it adds up.
I agree the pool is poorly managed because power is in the hands of the club team. The commission board is comprised largely of swim club parents or master swim club members, which, in my opinion is a huge conflict of interest. This conflict of interest I see as part of the problem we are facing with the power balance issue and may affect how some taxpayers vote.
I think for this pool to truly belong to the community, it must be managed by those who can help Park and Recreation achieve a balance which makes all persons and programs feel welcome. It needs to be managed by a board of impartial commissioners who care about their community and Oak Harbor youth, but have no vested interest nor personal agendas as their reason for being on the commission board.
My wife and I both feel that if the management and commission board issues are resolved and balance achieved, other problems such as the unhappy staff will eventually work themselves out.
The pool should be a fun place for everyone to enjoy. As a community we should work together to ensure we all can have equal and welcome access to our pool!