City moves to establish pool advisory committee

Formation of a Community Pool Advisory Committee, its primary task to advise the City Council, city staff and project managers throughout the design and construction process for a new city swimming pool complex, was unanimously approved Monday night by the council.

The committee, which will have a City Council-appointed chair, a current or former member of the Piedmont Recreation Commission and — at least initially — three to five members-at-large, will serve as “a conduit for the community’s voice in the design refinement and construction” of the new pool, according to a city staff report. 

City Administrator Sara Lillevand said the committee is a key part of the “community engagement component” in the pool project. Following a campaign by city leaders and other residents, Piedmont voters in November approved Measure UU, which calls for authorizing the city to issue up to $19.5 million in general obligation bonds to finance construction of a new city swimming pool. 

“In practice, the PAC will assist the project team to ensure the project meets community expectations, to communicate project progress to the community, and to make recommendations to staff and the City Council on how to best balance any conflicting priorities against budget resources and community expectations,” that report also says.

The pool advisory committee members will be recruited to coincide with the city’s appointment of an overall project manager for the pool. The Piedmont City Council voted unanimously in February to issue a “request for proposals” for a project manager to preside over the design and construction of the pool. The council could name that person sometime in April.

The committee meetings will be open to the public. 

Vice Mayor Tim Rood asked Lillevand why a sitting Piedmont Recreation Commissioner wouldn’t be named as a liaison to the pool committee, rather than have a current or former commissioner serve as a full member. Councilwoman Betsy Smegal Andersen wondered why the proposed pool committee has only five to seven members; she contrasted that to the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, which has nine members plus a city staff liaison.

And Councilwoman Jen Cavenaugh suggested that a member of the Piedmont schools community should be a member, given that the city pool is also used extensively by school teams.

City Attorney Michelle Kenyon said the makeup of the committee, and the number of committee members, can be changed by the City Council as the process moves forward, as desires and needs become clearer.

Lillevand assured the council that, in any event, Piedmont school officials will be involved with the new pool. 

“Absolutely the school district is going to have a lot of input in this process,” said Lillevand, who also said she believes the committee will also have a “strong sustainability presence.”

4 thoughts on “City moves to establish pool advisory committee

  1. I hope the number of seats on the PAC is increased to accommodate all the necessary expertise to ensure our new aquatic facility not only meet our community needs, but also our Climate Action Plan goals. We need to make sure that “green” construction expertise is well represented on this committee. And, we need people familiar with or able to research the other community pools currently being built using solar and renewable energy. Our new pool will last at least 50 years, so we’d better make sure it is energy efficient and zero GHG emissions.

  2. One of the stated roles of the PAC is to provide the City advice on conflicts between city priorities and design issues and community expectations for the pool. One of those priorities is to reduce city (residential and municipal) GHG emissions by 80% by 2050. The proposed pool complex triples GHG emissions from the old pool. So there’s a huge “conflict” waiting for the PAC to address at the start.

    Paul Benoit said that sustainability expertise would be required of the pool design firm hired by the city. Hopefully Council will appoint several residents to the PAC with energy and sustainability expertise to evaluate ZNC designs developed by the consultant. The “need” is clear now and Betsy is right – expand the committee and start designing a pool that can meet the city’s climate action goals. This issue really should be one of the first that the PAC addresses.

  3. It’s really important that this committee include people with technical expertise in green construction — especially in ZNE or carbon neutral construction and renewable energy. It’s concerning that the conceptual plan for the new aquatic facility makes no mention of how it will meet the GHG emissions reduction targets of Piedmont’s Climate Action Plan. The old pool was most likely the single largest user of natural gas within total municipal natural gas usage. The new pool must be designed to not rely on any natural gas, and this will require expert guidance, as this is a relatively new type of undertaking in municipal pool construction. I encourage residents with this type of expertise to apply to be on the committe.

  4. Is this committee the same as the bond oversight committee which was described in Measure UU? Their functions seem similar, but slightly different. It seems possibly redundant to have two committees.

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