The multi-million-dollar expansion to the South Cariboo Recreation Centre (SCRC) is one step closer to going to referendum.
At the end of the Oct. 13 South Cariboo Joint Committee meeting, local politicians endorsed a motion to approve the concept design of the two-storey facility and directed the SCRC Expansion Project Working Group to put together a financing plan for the project. Once that is complete, it would be presented to the public for consultations and, provided that goes well, be followed by a referendum.
The 90-minute meeting itself got off to a rough start when a technical glitch prevented Paul Fast of HCMA Architecture + Design from giving a PowerPoint presentation of the concept design for the expansion.
While everyone waited to receive coloured photocopies of the PowerPoint, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett noted that while she was door-knocking during the last provincial election campaign, people told her they wanted a pool for 100 Mile House.
“I was amazed at how many people wanted a pool,” said Barnett at the meeting.
“Of course, it was at a time when the Williams Lake pool was closed and how many people were taking their children and grandchildren to Kamloops and spending $1,000 every weekend, staying a couple of nights, having meals and doing shopping while they’re there.
“I just wanted to let you know what happened. Whatever happens, happens; it’s up to the voters.”
Committee co-chair Margo Wagner said the original expansion plan, which was developed in 2011/12, had a four-lane pool and a kiddies area.
However, she added a pool is incredibly expensive to build and maintain, and a four-lane pool would not be able to be used for a swim meet.
The other committee co-chair Ralph Fossum said people need to realize there is a huge difference between a pool and an aquatic centre.
Noting the expansion would be costly, Fossum said it was felt there may have to be some trimming to do.
“But the question was what do you cut?”
If they looked at eliminating the soccer field, walking track or the basketball court, he said they would be losing income and some attraction to use the facility.
“It would be an alternate space to hold much larger gatherings. We’re really quite limited at the community hall.”
Wagner wondered if they started trimming corners, would it be a really good community centre.
“The working group thought about that and chose to go with the original concept.”
Working group member Kimberly Vance-Lundsbye, who has a degree in therapeutic therapy, said she believes there’s a need for progress in recreation in 100 Mile House.
She added the expansion project would be a good way to achieve that goal.
Noting there are a lot of recreational groups working on a piecemeal basis to provide recreation, she said the new facility would be a good way of bringing all together.
“I have a lot of friends who have moved to the community and it’s something they want, something they would use and something that they’re used to.
“My parents moved here in 2010 and they would definitely use the walking track because it would be safe, especially in the winter.”
Working group member Leon Chretien said when his family was looking for a place to live and have a business, they wanted to have a French Immersion school, a good church and a pool.
“I realize we simply cannot afford a pool, but there is nothing more important than getting this facility.”
Gayle Dunsmuir represents the Age-Friendly group on the working group and said she is really passionate about the facility because it would be a boon for the senior population.
“We deserve this, so the politicians have to get on board with this. It will bring the professionals we need in 100 Mile.”
District Councillor Bill Hadden noted that if it’s approved, the expansion project would call for the demolition of the old Stan Halcro Arena, which will be a great loss for the 4-H youth because they will lose the arena where they show their animals.
There was a lot of concern voiced about how much the facility would cost to build and operate.
Mayor Mitch Campsall said people will want to know how much it’s going to cost, how much it was going to cost to use the facility and how much it would affect their tax bills.
It was noted the financial aspects of the project will be worked out at the next working group meeting and then they can talk about how they were going to present the project to the general public.