All signs point to good things ahead for the future Regional Aquatic Centre (RAC) in Agassiz.
During the Jan. 23 District of Kent Council meeting, councillors received an update on the RAC’s fundraising situation as the district and surrounding communities work to fund the construction of the new pool facility.
The estimated budget of the RAC– which would include an eight-lane pool, lazy river and sauna – is around $20 million. According to a report from director of financial services Mike Veenbaas, the community has a number of potential and confirmed financial resources to help meet the ultimate goal.
The primary financial resource, covering nearly half the estimated budget of the RAC, is through federal and provincial government grants, about $9.5 million of which came from the province. By the end of the year, the district will have accumulated $4.43 million in the Community Works Fund, which has been confirmed to be useable for the RAC.
Up to $2 million can come from the general capital reserve, as outlined in the 2023-2027 financial plan. Roughly $2.6 million can be borrowed, according to the capital plan.
The district is continuing to work with surrounding local governments on a shared funding agreement. The community has raised approximately $100,000 of a $1 million fundraising goal established last year.
If everything is confirmed and goes as planned, the multiple funding sources add up to the estimated budget. With council’s approval at the Monday meeting, fundraising signage around the community will be updated to include the $6.4 million confirmed to be part of the district’s commitment to the cause.
“I think it’s important for our residents to see where the money’s coming from,” said Coun. Susan Spaeti, who is on the fundraising committee. “It’s important that we change (the signage) to show we’ve increased it through these grants and our savings over the past few years.”
Coun. Kerstin Schwichtenberg agreed, adding her hopes that more grant funding will be available to reduce any debt the district might incur surrounding the RAC.
In other council business:
– The council approved all grant-in-aid requests for 2023 with the exception of Chilliwack Restorative Justice and Youth Advocacy, who requested $10,000 from the district. Total grant money to be distributed to local organizations totals about $23,000.
– The council approved an application from the district to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) for the 2023 UBCM Emergency Preparedness Fund for $30,000.
– Councillors voted to ratify the appointment of the Kent Agricultural Advisory Committee. The members are:
– Janelle Bisschop
– Mike Duncan
– Jim Grieshaber-Otto
– John Hoogendoorn
– Mindy Lucki
– Ken Schwaerzle
– Adrie Stuyt
– Ken VanderHoek
– Laurens van Vliet
The next regular District of Kent Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. at Municipal Hall (7170 Cheam Avenue). Online attendance is also available via Microsoft Teams; those interested can register through kentbc.ca.