The directors of the South Cariboo Aquatic Society (SCAS) would like to thank all our members and volunteers who have supported us over the past seven years.
SCAS understands the survey indicates there is not enough support for a referendum under the current proposal. It’s evident the cost to taxpayers is the major deterrent, so we need to change the terms of the proposal to make it more affordable for the taxpayers.
We believe there are three options to do this: reduce the scope of the project, secure alternative funding (grants and corporate sponsors); or expand the tax base.
Input was received from local groups to produce the proposed design, which would meet the needs of the South Cariboo now and for the next 30-40 years. Reducing the scope of the project by taking out options such as the hot tub, lazy river, number of swimming lanes, or the multi-purpose room may attract some supporters; however, new supporters may be offset by the loss of people who do support the current design.
A reduction to the design would not provide for future expansion, only gives a small reduction in the
cost to the taxpayer and could result in a loss of potential revenue to the pool.
Securing funding by way of federal and provincial grants and corporate sponsors is unknown at this time and has not been factored into the cost.
SCAS is very aware the cost of building an aquatic centre is high. Early on in our proposed project, we approached the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and the District of 100 Mile House (District) to suggest we needed to find a way to have the whole South Cariboo pay for the centre.
The one way to do this would be to expand the recreational tax boundaries. We believe that if the recreation taxation boundaries were expanded, the amount to all taxpayers would be approximately $85 per $100,000 of assessed value.
It would mean that all residents of the South Cariboo would be equally taxed to pay for the recreational facilities we all benefit from and outlying residents would no longer have to pay the current recreation pass fee to use the facilities.
Another way we suggested was to implement a banding approach to taxation. This option is where those closest to 100 Mile House would be taxed higher, farther out would be lower, and those taxpayers in the most outlying areas would pay the least amount.
The current CRD and District have chosen not to pursue either of these options.
After the election we will try talking with the newly elected officials to see if they are willing to pursue any of the above options to make building an aquatic centre more feasible for the taxpayers.
We will continue towards our goal until all avenues have been exhausted. Suggestions are always welcome.
John Code is a South Cariboo Aquatic Society member.