New 10.5 million recreation complex for Port Hardy?

The District of Port Hardy is investigating a complex issue, a new 10.5 million recreation complex.

The District of Port Hardy will be investigating a complex issue – a new $10.5-million recreation complex that is.

At a committee of the whole meeting March 8, council was presented with the findings of a survey that was

filled out by 616 people. (The survey ended Feb. 19.) A total of 75 per cent of the respondents were from the

District of Port Hardy, followed by Port McNeill, Fort Rupert, Coal Harbour, Port Alice, and Tsulquate (each with

under 10 per cent). People from Malcolm Island, Cormorant Island, and Hyde Creek, and ‘other’ also

participated. According to the survey, which was available both on line and in print, 59.77 per cent of

respondents ‘felt strongly’ that a new facility should be built. Another 56.48 per cent felt that fitness facilities

should be incorporated into a new facility, and 65.31 felt that no matter what plan was selected, energy

efficiency was important. A small percentage, 1.2 ‘strongly agree’ the pool should be closed; 18.44 felt it should

be repaired; and 23.52 said it should be expanded. “It seems like we have a big mandate,” said Mayor Hank

Bood. Council is reviewing several proposals right now, concepts will be available in April and a second public

consultation meeting will be held in May. If a decision is made to go ahead a referendum will be held. “Currently

we are looking to the fall for a referendum after more public consultation that moves us to that decision,” said

Director of Corporate Services Heather Nelson-Smith via email. “There will be lots and lots of (opportunities for)

public input coming in the near future,” Bood said. “I was actually surprised myself that only one per cent were

for closing the pool period,” he added. Port Hardy’s population is “on a steady growth pattern,” said Bood, and

the community appears to want to see something that supports a growing population, and demonstrates “that

we’re going to be here in the future.” Councillor Fred Robertson agreed the results are indicative of “a

community that wants to build and grow itself.” Councillor Pat Corbett-Labatt was surprised the majority of

respondents were between the ages of 35 and 49. “I thought it would be skewed higher.” “I think it’s

phenomenal how many people took part in the survey,” said Councillor Jessie Hemphill. The next step in the

process will be to evaluate proposals and “try to figure out what we can afford,” Bood said.