Two of the three partners in the BV Regional Pool and Recreation Centre have approved a request by the Pool Advisory Committee to apply for a grant for phase 1 of the pool expansion project.
The request was presented to Smithers Council, the Regional District Bulkley Nechako board of directors and Telkwa Council at recent meetings by a delegation from the BV Pool. Smithers which has two votes and the RDBN, which has one, both voted yes to suporting the application.
At its June 21 regular meeting, Telkwa council did not vote on the request because deputy mayor Derek Meerdink advised council he had previously voted no on the Village’s behalf, at the BV Pool Advisory Committee meeting May 30.
Councillors did express their concern to the delegation that taxes most likely would have to be raised in later phases of the project, and although phase one costs will not raise taxes, starting the process would eventually lead to higher taxes, which the councillors did not support.
“Telkwa does not have the tax base to support the increases that will eventually be needed to expand the pool,” Meerdink said.
Council understood that the RDBN applying for a grant to start the expansion is not the area of contention, it begins the process of expansion, Meerdink explained.
Coun. Dekens asked Tamara Gillis (from the BV Pool delegation) whether she could guarantee if council approved the request for support, and phase one begins, that in five years time there will be no tax rate increases caused by the pool expansion.
“With the answer being no, I cannot support the start to this process then,” Dekens said.
“Recreational facilities in their long-term visions for expansion costs, need to consider and understand budgets like Telkwa’s and the restrictive constraints we are working with,” Coun. Annette Morgan stated.
The pool was looking for a unanimous decision to aid with the application.
According to RDBN chief administrative officer, Curtis Helgesen, since the pool is owned by RDBN, the board of directors consider the votes made by the partners, but in this instance, the majority rules.
“It could make the application for the grant look a bit awkward if someone questions why all three partners are not in agreement, but we will still go ahead with the application for the grant, just without Telkwa’s support,” Helgesen said.
Phase 1 of the expansion, at a cost of $2.5 million, would refit the lobby and administration areas of the pool to be bigger and more accessible, with a wider hallway and entrance.
It would also allow for improvements to fitness facility access.
The application will be made to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ Strategic Priorities Fund.