I do lap swimming three times a week, and it would be very is nice to have a pool in my neighborhood. The advantages are its convenience and the fact that it is new.

I respect the great effort put forth by the group of good-intentioned people who want to build an aquatic center in West Linn. However, it is not wise to dive into this venture.

Now, whenever I want to swim, I drive 10 minutes each way to North Clackamas Aquatic Park (NCAP). Here are the advantages:

1. The swimming facility already exists.

2. No extra property tax on top of the pool admission fee.

3. West Linn taxpayers do not have to subsidize NCAP’s annual operational shortfall.

4. No worries about construction budget overruns and negative cash flows from future pool operations.

5. I can combine my trip to the NCAP with nearby shopping.

6. The facility and staff at the NCAP are well established; I am happy to support them.

It is not prudent for West Linn to build and operate its own pool, especially without clear plans for self-sustaining management and maintenance. The bond measure before voters does not even include construction funds for a multi-lap swimming pool, essential for serious swimmers. That expansion will add future costs of construction, operation and maintenance for West Linn taxpayers.

We can learn much about the realities of pool operations from the NCAP, built in 1994.

1. The NCAP is not operating to capacity.

2. The NCAP has been losing money every year and needs to subsidize its operations from the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District general fund. This fiscal year the revenue shortfall is more than $680,000.

What would the impacts of passing Ballot Measure 3-432 be for West Linn?

1. Traffic along Salamo Road will increase during construction and afterward from people using the pool facility.

2. Our residential property taxes will become higher for city pool construction and likely higher yet for its annual operations, thus far unfunded.

3. Pool operations are continual management and liability headaches.

What is a viable alternative to building a new aquatic facility with no designated operating budget?

1. The NCAP pool manager is open to negotiating with West Linn to allow exclusive pool use during certain days and hours.

2. West Linn already owns a shuttle bus that could be used to transport West Linn residents, who cannot or prefer not to drive to the NCAP in a single occupancy vehicle.

The facts are clear. West Linn does not need to operate its own swimming pool. It is a wiser, better use of city resources, and less of a burden to West Linn residents, if the city offers shuttle service with our existing bus to NCAP with exclusive hours for our residents, instead of building our own public aquatic center.

I urge West Linn voters to reject ballot Measure 3-432 this November and not finance the building of a new aquatic community center in West Linn.

Surja Tjahaja is a West Linn resident.

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