Columbia Valley Credit Union donates to Golden and Columbia Shuswap Regional District. (CSRD)

‘Talked about for decades’: Golden aquatic facility to become reality

Columbia Shuswap Regional District votes to borrow up to $18 million over a 30-year term

Two yesses and a huge donation will propel an indoor aquatic facility forward in the Town of Golden.

On Giving Tuesday Nov. 29, Columbia Valley Credit Union (CVCU) proved its commitment to supporting and encouraging progress in Golden and Electoral Area A of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), by donating $100,000.

The project earned its first big yes on Oct. 15, when residents of Golden and Electoral Area A voted 1,477 to 573 in favour of moving forward with the aquatic facility.

The second approval came at a CSRD board meeting in Salmon Arm on Nov. 24 when directors voted unanimously in favour of establishing a bylaw to borrow up to $18 million over a 30-year term. Funds will be put toward the capital cost to build the aquatic centre as an addition to the existing Golden and District Recreation Centre.

CSRD Manager of Operations Darcy Mooney said overwhelming support for the project was revealed in polling stations from Field, to Parson, to Donald and Golden.

“We appreciate the overwhelming engagement from the community to date, and we look forward to advancing the next phases of the project,” said Mooney, pointing out the four-year feasibility study was the largest the regional district has been involved in. “And now we are embarking on the largest fundraising efforts the CSRd has ever contemplated, into the largest capital project the CSRD has ever initiated.”

The CSRD has raised more than $1.7 million for the project and will continue to work with fundraising consultant KEA Canada Ltd. Additional funding will be sought through federal and provincial grants, sponsorships and personal donations.

As well as CVCU, funding partners to date include Electoral Area A Community Works Funds, Whitetooth Legacy Fund, Economic Opportunity Fund, proceeds from the sale of the Golden Visitors Centre and numerous donations made by local community members.

Hopes are high that a $6 million regional district application to the Strategic Priorities Fund will be successful.

“We should know if this maximum grant request was successful by the end of January 2023,” says Mooney. “In the meantime, we’re gearing up to start doing detail design and certain other works.”

Excited and pleased, Electoral Area A Director Karen Cathcart expressed high praise for Mooney in a Nov. 24 meeting, in Salmon Arm.

“If it wasn’t for Darcy, we wouldn’t be sitting here,” she said. “This is how staff make things happen.”

Equally enthusiastic, Mayor Ron Oszust said the aquatic centre, which was estimated to cost $35 million in 2020, is something that has been talked about for decades and failed by a small margin in a 2007 referendum.

“There are a few times when the public gets to set direction like this and that is a valuable part of the democratic process,” he said. “On Oct. 15, the community gave a resounding thumbs up to the project.”

Active fundraising is underway. And, big or small, every donation matters. Donations to the indoor aquatic centre are accepted at CVCU and at On Deck is an initiative of the CSRD, in partnership with the Town of Golden.

READ MORE: Golden and Area A votes yes to proposed indoor aquatic centre

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