The old Elmira pool, idle since the opening of the Woolwich Memorial Centre in 2009, will once again be filled with aquatic activities: it’s to be the new home of the Waterloo Regional Synchronized Swimming Club (WRSSC).
In a deal that closes May 30, the organization has purchased the building from Woolwich Township for $450,000. It plans to be operating in Elmira by Sept. 1.
The facility is more than twice the size of the group’s current location in Waterloo, its home for the past 18 years. Already the largest synchronized swimming club in the province, it continues to grow.
“We’re full. We need to expand,” said Leanne McDonnell, WRSSC’s program coordinator, noting the move is the culmination of two years of searching for a new space. “We had been looking at locations in Waterloo … coming up with nothing. “People started telling us maybe we needed to think about Elmira.”
Rather than buying a piece of commercial land – in short supply and often very expensive in Waterloo – and then building from scratch, the club has a ready-made facility in the former public pool. It will need extensive renovations, however. That work is expected to get underway shortly, with contractors already taking stock of the work to be done.
Along with new galleries, there are plans for a dry-land training facilities, weight room and offices. The building will be used seven days a week solely for synchronized swimming, she explained.
“We really need the space,” said McDonnell, adding the club has almost 150 members, with teams competing at the local, provincial and national levels. “Our members are very excited about this.”
As the largest club in Ontario – and the top one in nine of the last 10 years – WRSSC draws members from a sizeable distance, including the GTA and Guelph to go along with participants from Kitchener, Waterloo and the townships.
This sale brings to three the number of larger surplus township properties sold, including a former gravel pit in Maryhill and the old Floradale fire station on Ruggles Road.
Director of recreation and facilities Larry Devitt said Woolwich is still looking for buyers for the old administration buildings in Elmira and Conestogo.
Money from the sale of all surplus properties – including some small pieces of land such as old road allowances – is earmarked for the township’s recently completed major capital building program, which saw some $35 million used for the Woolwich Memorial Centre, a new administration building and a new fire station in Floradale, among others.
Mayor Todd Cowan, who announced the sale at a council meeting May 10, said afterwards he’s happy the building will continue to be used as an aquatic facility. There had been some interest from a developer, with plans to tear it down and use the land for residential lots.