Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas spoke out about the multiplex project’s issues at an open house back in February of 2019. (North Island Gazette file photo)

Build a new pool or fix the old? Port Hardy mayor wades in

‘… whatever we do going forward we want the support of the community’

To build or not to build, that is the question.

Stantec’s much anticipated report on Port Hardy’s indoor swimming pool hasn’t arrived yet, but Mayor Dennis Dugas confirmed that once it does come in, it will be discussed at an upcoming council meeting and the report will be public information.

The revised report will have updated financial numbers from the original 2015 version, as council needs to know how much it will cost to repair the old pool so they can start the process of applying for federal and provincial grants.

RELATED: Stantec to update swimming pool report

“I understand people in the community were really looking forward to a new pool,” stated Dugas when asked to comment. “We all wanted something new for our community, but if we can’t get the money for a new one then we have to maintain what we’ve got.”

The district had previously applied two different times for federal and provincial grants to help fund the brand new pool but were denied both times.

Dugas noted it’s been “a pretty frustrating process,” but added that Port Hardy wasn’t the only community that was putting in applications for the grants so the competition was very tough as to who would actually get the funding.

RELATED: Funding denied for multiplex

As for how much the cost has risen since 2015 to repair the pool, Dugas stated that “Obviously the costs aren’t going to go down, so we’re thinking it’s going to be at least a 10 per cent increase from the original report’s numbers.”

He added the money the district has been collecting from taxes “will help pay for the debt we have to borrow. Whatever we end up doing, we’re going to have to borrow money,” and that council is hoping they won’t have to increase taxes to pay for it.

After nearly five years of dealing with the project, Dugas noted he would still love to have a new pool “if we can afford it, and that’s what it’s always been about — can we afford it and is it worth borrowing six million dollars and putting the municipality in debt for 30 years. All of us [council] were in favour of a new pool from the start, we all had concerns about how it was going to be done, but it was a priority project for us.”

The district still has a $250,000 donation from Mowi, but if they do decide to go ahead with repairing the old pool, council will have to sit down with the company and talk things out, as the money was originally meant for a new building.

With regards to the funding from the Regional District of Mount Waddington (an annual $50,000 contribution to finance one million dollars of the debt which has to be applied for every year), Dugas said it will be a council decision to apply for the money if they decide to fix the old pool instead of build new, but did note that it’s always been “a regional indoor pool. I know it’s located in Port Hardy, but we have people from all over who come to use it.”

Dugas added if they do end up repairing the old pool, the previous referendum where the electors approved the borrowing of six million dollars will no longer be valid. As such, the district would have to hold another referendum to get approval, or use the alternative approval process (counter petition) for approval to borrow funds.

Whatever choice they end up going with will inevitably be a council decision that will require a show of hands.

The bottom line, Dugas said, is that council is waiting for this report to come in “and we’re going to be discussing it, and whatever we do going forward we want the support of the community.”

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE PORT HARDY POOL

Port Hardy’s indoor swimming pool is over 40 years old and requires major upgrading and repair to remain operational.

An overall assessment of the pool was completed in 2015 by Stantec with options that included either repairing the pool or replacing the building entirely.

The District went to the public to seek input on the direction council should consider and the survey results returned 74 per cent in favour of building a new aquatic facility. A referendum (Assent Voting Opportunity) was held Oct. 22, 2016.

The electors of Port Hardy approved the project.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City CouncilSwimming

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Hardy Mounties help First Nation chief build smokehouse

‘We have great maya’xala for all the community members, in each of the communities…’

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Access to remote Side Bay beach up in the bureaucratic air

Roads to the pristine north west coast Vancouver Island beach at risk of being deactivated

Mount Cain planning a modified winter season for north Island ski and snowboarders

Skiing is a COVID-friendly activity, but shared public spaces require adjustment

Remote B.C. tourism lodge staffed for coastal clean up instead of wilderness tours

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to exotic wildlife — and international trash

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read