At a special town council meeting, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District requested a letter of concurrence from the Town of Golden for an aquatic centre feasibility study, and council chose to guardedly provide support in principle for the initiative.
The feasibility study would look into many factors to determine the viability and support for a community aquatic centre.
The CSRD provided a report from its manager of financial services, dated March 15, recommending the board execute a feasibility study to determine the support, costs, and administrative framework for the centre, with concurrence from the Town of Golden.
However, council was reluctant to provide full concurrence, given other business at the meeting, which asks the CSRD to hold a referendum at the fall election to pay 20 per cent of operating and maintenance costs of four core facilities in the town.
“I don’t want them tied for the reason that I don’t want one to fail because of the other. I don’t want the referendum to fail because this is attached to it, and I don’t want this to fail because the referendum is attached to it,” councillor Eddie Leigan said. “If the CSRD is wanting to take the lead and do the study, I am very intrigued. I want to know what they have and I want to know what they find, and I also believe that if the electorate comes back and wants to pay for an indoor pool and we know what it’s going to cost, and everybody agrees with that, I see no reason why we shouldn’t get one. I believe that if tax payers are willing to pay for it, then that is absolutely fine, we can have one.”
Many of the councillors were concerned about cost sharing with the four core facilities: the Golden Civic Centre, the Golden Municipal Pool, the Golden and District Arena, and the Mount 7 Rec Plex.
Because current operating costs are continuously increasing, the Town of Golden has asked that the CSRD start footing some of the bill for facilities rural residents use.
Because of the referendum regarding shared costs of the facilities, councillors said adding concurrence to the feasibility study was bad timing, and unnecessary. Councillors approved to provide support for the initiative instead of the concurrence asked by the CSRD.
“The easy thing to do is say sure, why not fill your boots, it doesn’t cost us any money, it’s not really on our plate, somebody else is going to manage it, and we will get some cool information that will help us make decisions of things that are really actually exciting. That’s great. That’s the easy part,” said Caleb Moss, who is a town councillor, and sits on the CSRD board. “But, it’s actually far more complex, and that’s where it gets a bit confusing.”
Many of the councillors agreed that concurrence was not needed, but they were curious to see what the feasibility would find out. And, councillors were concerned about adding another facility to the roster, when the Town is struggling to keep them open and operating.
“We’re in the situation basically like, the roof’s leaking, I need new brakes on my car, one of the kids needs braces, and I’m like hey, a Disneyland trip sounds fun. I probably can’t afford it, but it wouldn’t hurt just to check how much it costs,” Moss said. “We have to do a little bit of work to make room for the possibility that we can make that happen because there is a push from people that want it.”