As the District of Kent seeks support for the upcoming Regional Aquatic Centre, Local officials outside of the district have had mixed but largely supportive reactions to the future Regional Aquatic Centre (RAC).
During their most recent meeting, Village of Harrison Hot Springs councillors discussed sending letters of support to Minister of Indigenous Services Patty Hajdu and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Dominic LeBlanc.
Coun. Michie Vidal moved to write letters of support with Coun. Leo Facio seconding the motion. Mayor Ed Wood expressed some concerns about the cost of the project and the ongoing expenses once the pool was up and running.
“There’s a lot of money involved in that,” Wood said. “Can the village of Harrison Hot Springs assist in a project like this financially? I think that’s an important question.”
Wood noted the RAC was up for discussion for an upcoming Lets’emot Community to Community Forum (C2C).
Facio acknowledged that the district and the village are close neighbours. The question of how much help the village can offer depends on what is needed.
“We should at some point be ready to have a discussion on if we’re going to help with the funding toward this,” Facio said “It will benefit the residents of Harrison Hot Springs.”
Coun. John Buckley concurred.
“I know there are considerable amounts of residents who use (the Community Recreation and Cultural Centre) and I know they would be welcoming the new pool, for sure,” Buckley said. “I think it would behoove us to have a good conversation about this. I would be all for that.”
Coun. Allan Jackson was hesitant to get involved in another community’s plans.
“Sometime down the line, we can budget some money to help with the capital cost” he said. “That’s one thing I’m prepared to look at. I think you have to be very careful when you start entering another community. Where does it end?”
Despite the details of funding and what’s potentially expected of the village, Vidal said she’s in support of the project overall.
Ultimately, the council unanimously approved to provide letters of support, with the proviso that there is no financial agreement implied at this time.
The Fraser-Cascade School District 78 board also approved writing letters of support for the RAC.
In the letter to local governing bodies, the district said they were hoping to see if partial funding for the RAC could come from the First Nation Infrastructure Funding (FNIF) or Pacific Economic Development Canada. The district previously had success securing funding via letters to LeBlanc through the In Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).
The district is gathering letters of support prior to a possible delegation from the C2C Forum going to Ottawa to meet with federal officials to discuss the RAC.
The estimated cost of construction is approximately $20.7 million. The district secured roughly $10 million in grant funding and recently confirmed they can use about $4 million from the Community Works Fund plus up to $2 million from capital reserves in addition to about $100,000 to date from community fundraising.
This leaves an estimated $4 million the district will attempt to raise through government funding and funding partners. The district has also donated land valued at about $4 million for the RAC.
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