Tyson’s Thoughts is a weekly column published every Thursday online at northislandgazette.com and in print every Wednesday.

Tyson’s Thoughts: Make Port Hardy great again with a new multiplex in 2018

Population growth means there should be more recreational activities for community members to enjoy.

Port Hardy’s multiplex project has quietly moved along into 2018 without any breaking updates as to whether the federal grant funding needed to officially start construction is coming or not.

So where exactly is the project currently sitting at?

According to Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick, “UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) representatives will be reviewing applications at the end of January and local governments should be getting word by the end of February.”

McCarrick stated the district is really optimistic about the project being approved, and they have been in talks with the Regional District of Mount Waddington about a grant in aid, similar to what is given to Mount Cain and the Seven Hills Golf & Country Club.

This all sounds like great news to me, and I’m officially going to go on record right now by saying I’m 100 per cent behind the multiplex project, as I feel it’s a very worthy addition to our community that will help entice young families to move and stay here.

I learned to swim at the Port Hardy pool, have lots of great memories from hanging out there with my friends, and at one point I was actually the only kid in my grade who could do a backflip off the diving board. I’m still pretty proud of that fact.

Port Hardy council has done a fantastic job of listening to the community’s voice about what the project was missing during their open house meeting, and they have worked hard ever since to accommodate the requests.

Instead of having only three lap lanes, council agreed to add a fourth lane to the pool. They also agreed to add additional deck space to accommodate a bigger and better slide. Council also agreed to the building of a mezzanine with a viewing area and additional room to the new pool facility.

So you might be wondering, just how much is all of this going to cost?

$13,604,680.

While it may sound like a lot for taxpayers, Marine Harvest has already contributed $250,000 to the project, and if the district gets the grant funding they’re looking for, 2/3 of the project should be covered.

Let’s put money aside for a moment. Just think about how cool it will be to have a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that accentuates our growing community (Port Hardy’s 2016 census showed population growth of about three per cent, up to 4,132 from a low of about 3,800 in 2006).

Population growth like that means there should be more recreational activities added for community members to enjoy.

Council did a great job of supporting the local curling club when they needed a new roof, and they have already committed $353,925 from the grant funding to build a brand new skatepark, which will be put in place of the existing pool.

Bottom line, Port Hardy needs a new multiplex so that kids have a state-of-the-art place to learn to swim where they can create memories like the ones I have from my own childhood.

A new pool and skatepark will go a long way in helping achieve that.

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