Jace Code holds up a sign in support of getting a pool for the South Cariboo Recreation Centre expansion at a rally in front of the 100 Mile Community Hall on March 14. Brendan Kyle Jure photo.

It’s time to sink or swim for pool supporters when South Cariboo Recreation Centre expansion referendum comes

Rally ahead of recreation centre consultation

Roughly a dozen people gathered in front of the 100 Mile Community Hall to rally for an aquatic centre in the South Cariboo.

“It went okay, I thought. It was pretty short notice for people to get out there and it was raining. I would have liked to have more people show up for it,” said the organizer John Code.

The rally was held just minutes before the Cariboo Regional District’s (CRD) information and consultation sessions on the project at the community hall on March 14.

“There are people out there that feel that the wrong project is being brought to referendum,” said Code, on the reason for the rally. “I would rather see the aquatic proposal brought to referendum rather than the present one because I feel like that’s what more people in the South Cariboo want and need than the proposal that is being put forward.”

The project being put forward is a $14.6 million is the proposed South Cariboo Recreation Centre expansion which the South Cariboo Joint Committee (SCJC) voted to bring to a referendum on March 16.

The expansion would include a running track, indoor courts and an indoor soccer pitch. The latter would also be able for other uses such as archery, dog agility and lawn bowling.

Of the $14.6 million, $10 million would be borrowed by the CRD and $4.6 million would be found through grants and/or sponsorship. If there is an increase in the cost it would also have to be covered through donations.

According to the CRD, an aquatic centre would cost $18.3 million (an updated cost assessment from the one the South Cariboo Aquatic Society did), with annual costs estimated to be $600,000. The annual operating costs of the South Cariboo Recreational Centre expansion would roughly be $150,000 per year.

In a survey of 750 responses collected both online and in paper showed 43 per cent said they were in favour of the expansion, while 47 per cent said they were not. Ten per cent of the respondents said they were not sure.

The same survey indicated that 63 per cent of the respondents not in favour of the expansion believed another project should be prioritized. In total, 208 responses indicated they preferred a pool. The remaining respondents indicated they thought the project was too expensive or had various other reasons.

It is not the first time a thought of building a pool in the South Cariboo has occurred. In 1993, a referendum failed and in 2012, a proposal for an aquatic centre was determined by the joint committeeto not have enough support after a feasibility study and a public survey.

On the March 16 meeting by the South Cariboo Joint Committee, Margo Wagner, chair of the CRD, said they’re not ready to have a referendum on a pool.

“If people really do want a pool they better get out to the referendum and vote accordingly,” said Code.

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