It was down to standing room only last Wednesday evening in the District of Kent council chambers. Dozens of residents showed up to take part in a public meeting to discuss ways to spend windfall revenue negotiated from the filming of Wayward Pines.
In September, council had voted on a list of ways to spend the money. One of those choices was a mobile stage, to help increase cultural activity in the community.
However, when council voted to purchase the stage in October for about $160,000, many residents were unimpressed. That resulted in Mayor John Van Laerhoven rescinding the decision, and opening the topic to public discussion.
Council and staff are looking at ways to spend $209,500, and had hoped to find a “legacy” project that will have a lasting effect in the community.
Some of last Wednesday’s ideas from the public included giving teenagers free passes to the recreation centre, a mountain bike terrain park, starting blocks for the Fernie Coombe pool, washroom upgrades at the ball diamonds, or putting the money into a reserve fund for larger projects, such as an indoor pool or a spray park. Both of those projects are being looked at already by the District, but only as long-term projects due to high costs.
No decisions were made, but those in attendance were invited to put stickers on their favourite ideas, to help staff decide which ideas had the most interest.
The decision on how to spend the money will now go to the new council, as it was not addressed at this council’s final regular meeting, held Monday night.
Kent’s next council meeting is Nov. 24, after election day.