WITH UNCERTAINTY OF KAN PACIFIC LEASE EXTENSION
A member of the swimming community has raised concerns about the Kan Pacific Swimming Pool after the Department of Public Lands last week announced a request for proposal for the lease and development of the public land in Marpi.
Mariana Resort & Spa, which is owned by Kan Pacific Saipan, currently holds the lease of the 1.61 million-square-meter land and manages the 50-meter pool where CNMI swimmers practice regularly and local and international tournaments are hosted.
“What happens to the 50-meter pool if Kan Pacific doesn’t get to keep the lease? Will new owners be required to keep the pool at its current location with no interruption of usage?” said Suzy Kindel, a member of Saipan Swim Club Masters.
Kan Pacific’s lease on the Marpi land will expire on April 30, 2018, while the deadline for the submission of RFP is on Feb. 26, 2016. The pool is part of 43,637-square-meter property on the east side of Marpi and the location also houses a baseball and open field.
“If new owners are required to replace the pool, how long would we be without one? Or could the existing pool be kept in operation until the new one is open?” Kindel said, who early this year also helped facilitate synchronize swimming practice sessions at the only Olympic-sized pool in the CNMI.
She said losing the pool or not having one for months or years will greatly impact the island’s swimming community. Besides Kindel’s master group, Saipan Swim Club and Tsunami Swimming Center Saipan members are also using the facility, which was just recently reopened after being closed for more than three months in the aftermath of Typhoon Soudelor.
“We will be very sad if we lose the pool even for a couple of years. It was hard during the last three months with the pool closed. Although we can swim in the lagoon, that is tide dependent, red flag dependent, and is a different kind of workout,” Kindel said.
“This island is so lucky to have this pool. The [Mariana] Resort operates it as a loss but somehow was required to provide through the lease. If you go to the states, most pools are set up for swimming widthwise so only 25 yards or meters and anyone who has swam in our pool will tell you what a drag it is to use a short course pool,” she added.
The long-time CNMI resident also mentioned the CNMI’s hosting of the Pacific Mini Games for the first time. The quadrennial competition will come to the Commonwealth in 2021 and swimming is one of the sports the host country is offering with the Marpi pool the proposed venue for the races.
“What about the 2021 Pacific Mini Games Saipan is hosting? Swimming events require a sanctioned pool. I don’t know the requirements but other than open water events, I believe there is no other pool on island that could handle the events,” she said.
“Ideally whoever gets the lease, hopefully Mariana Resort, will give us a brand new world class facility, with many more hours of open pool time. And ideally, the old pool will be kept open until the new one is open!”