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Editorial: Size of Community Pool Caused Concern

Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council voted 3 to 2 to not move forward with a plan for an 8-lane, 25-yard pool and Aquatics Center during their April 8th meeting. (See Carolina Beach Council Votes Down Community Pool Proposal)
It's a heated issue but the outcome should come as no surprise. Mayor Dan Wilcox and Council members Leann Pierce and Gary Doetsch have in the past not expressed 100% support for the pool for various reasons. Council members Sarah Friede and Steve Shuttleworth support the proposal. It's been a passionate pet project for Shuttleworth since the beginning.
In the end it appears the size of the pool - both physically and financially - played a role in arriving at the April 8th vote. One observation that stands out: The survey that was sent out to residents in utility bills did not seek input on the size of a pool. Nowhere in that survey did it seek information on the cost of the project or how much people would be willing to pay for memberships. Additionally, that survey missed many condo owners where their HOA's get a single bill for the entire complex of units. Many people commented during election season they favored a pool, "just not that pool."
Mayor Wilcox said he heard that input from many residents while knocking on doors during his campaign.
Former Mayor Bob Lewis said when he went door to door last election season he observed a 50-50 split in the community on the topic.
During a meeting in November of last year Lewis explained, "During the election there were some suggestions that, maybe not this pool. When I've talked to some seniors who said they were totally supporting a pool, it was supporting a pool but this design is not really what I have to have." The YWCA in Wilmington was a model for planning the Carolina Beach pool to show that it would be successful. If so, then why don't we have a YWCA opening in Carolina Beach? Perhaps a smaller facility would have been more well received. At least presenting that option on equal footing with the larger proposal when soliciting public input would have answered that question with more, or less, support for the larger pool.