Letter: What about a pool and fitness centre for Barriere?

To the editor;

This is a call for Expression of Interest in a Community Pool/Fitness Centre for Barriere and its outlying regions. Research is currently being done to determine how this might be possible.

The most critical factor at this point is to quantify community support, anywhere from Clearwater to McLure. How many of you would utilize a local facility? How many of you would be willing to assist with the process? Perhaps join a non-profit society geared towards the provision of these services? Be on the Board? How many of you now drive to Kamloops to swim, work out, benefit from the programming offered at the Y or the Canada Games facility? The plan at this point is to attract the passionate physical fitness folks, distribute petitions to appropriate locations, solicit personal stories to determine commitment to the potential here, so the governance knows more about what the people want/need. A website would be developed to share information with the public.

My own story is this: for various reasons over the past handful of years I have desperately needed the type of exercise offered at indoor gyms. Even trying to get to the Y twice a week costs me around $100 per week….approximately $400 per month. Invariably I would need to do some shopping or catch a meal. Each trip to town averaged $50. Plus a lot of my day wasted to the drive, plus wear and tear on the vehicle.

If I had been able to stay in Barriere for these services, all of this money would have stayed in Barriere! Mostly I have been supporting the oil companies on these outings. Frustration has lead me to this point of seeing what we can do here to help ourselves and our community to enhance its offerings so people can stay home.

The main concern by governance is the ongoing maintenance/ operational costs of a facility such as this. My research right now has been directed towards mitigating these issues. I have found some very interesting possibilities.

Alternative power sources and advanced technologies are key. Reducing power requirements as an approach in itself is instrumental. One of my main inspirations in this area is a facility known as Ecofit; green technology. Solar and wind turbines are the main power source. Stationary bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, instead of using power, generate power that is directed back into the system. In addition to that, the users buy into the mindset of saving power, generating power. Air conditioning is eliminated, and natural air flow is encouraged….keeping windows open etc. Initial design of the facility enhances passive solar heat, and improves natural lighting (south facing windows, skylights). If a gym in southern California can go without air conditioning I certainly think we could achieve that in our northern climate! I am usually too cold in the gyms anyway.

In our area we have additional technologies we can readily utilize to help reduce costs of power. Geothermal heating, and wood boiler systems for pool heating are real possibilities. It will not be long before these ‘green’ facilities are available throughout the country but right now we would be showcasing one of the first in Canada! The more I have researched the more I am convinced that this is a viable opportunity to be on the leading edge in this arena.

So let me hear from you! This is not a one-man show; it will take the community being on board to make it happen. If you have skills that can be helpful to this process by all means let me know! I know there are many of you that feel as I do; so now is our time to commit to this awesome opportunity and see what we can achieve. I am willing to give it all I have. I look forward to hearing from you.

Contact: laurenempowers@gmail.com

Lauren Powers

Barriere, B.C.

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