The Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre will be celebrating its 20th anniversary next month. The plaque inside the hallways of the facility recognizes the contributions make the project a reality.

Trail celebrates two major landmarks

Two major landmarks will be celebrated in the next while, the 20th anniversary of TALC and the opening of the Skywalk.

Building a major landmark in Trail certainly doesn’t happen over night.

So celebrating those, many who committed years to their cause, like an indoor pool or the soon-to-be open Columbia River Skywalk, will be acknowledged for their commitment in civic celebrations next month.

First up, all those who contributed to the building of the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre (TALC) will be recognized on Dec. 10.

A bronze plaque sums it up, “This dream may never have been realized” without the vision and dedication of so many over a long period of time 24 years, in fact.

Those words are memorialized in the hallway of the complex, listing 1972 to 1996 as the time it took to see the East Trail project come to fruition.

After 20 years of families jumping in the pool, swimmers doing laps and gym-goers pumping iron, the city is celebrating two decades of its place in the community and what it has done for the surrounding region.

“Recognizing the TALC facility and all that is has provided to the community over the past 20 years is a wonderful milestone to celebrate,” noted Trisha Davison, director of parks and recreation. “Many of the people who worked so diligently to make the facility a reality are still with us today. It would be wonderful to involve and acknowledge those people as part of this celebration.”

As part of the Silver City Nites that Saturday, the city is offering a toonie swim from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m., draw prizes throughout the day, free hot dogs by the Trail firefighters at 11 a.m. and cake cutting at noon.

Looking back to Oct. 26, 1996, former city mayor and current Trail Coun. Sandy Santori cut the ribbon and dedicated the aquatic centre to “the people of Trail in recognition of their vision and ongoing commitment to the improvement of the quality of life in our community”.

Of course, the birth of the Aquatic Centre didn’t come without its pains. And going from drawing board to diving board didn’t come without its share of controversy.

Jerry Paul, then president of the Trail Aquatic Centre Project Society, was at the forefront of the fight to bring the centre to life and remembers the battle all too well.

“It was a hard sell,” he said in a previous Trail Times interview. “The biggest thing was battling the unknown. People had no idea about an aquatic centre it wasn’t just another swimming pool. But now the area is full of converts.”

The initial idea of an aquatic centre in the region began in 1987. It took two referendums; some scaled down plans and a lot of public meetings before the official sod turning on Oct. 25, 1995.

A regional referendum, including taxpayers from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, was held in April 1995. The result was a narrow defeat for the proposal.

The final tally was 4,017 against and 3,917 in favour.

“I remember being inundated with phone calls from people in Trail that were angry it didn’t pass,” recalled Santori in a Trail Times story marking the facility’s 10th year.

He remembers going to council the next night and asking how Trail could do the project on their own.

The city opted to tackle the project by itself and another referendum was held two months later. The result was 2,430 in favour and only 802 opposed.

The initial project, which featured a wave pool and diving facilities, was estimated at around $4 million. But the scaled down version came in at an estimate of $2.7 million.

Columbia River Skywalk set for soft launch in mid-December

Details are still being worked for the city’s soft launch of the Skywalk, though the plan is to schedule a ceremony mid-December to include regional partners and other representatives.

A grander celebration is slated for Silver City Days in May 2017.

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