The entrance to the Port Hardy aquatic centre. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

The entrance to the Port Hardy aquatic centre. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Port Hardy council will decide fate of pool revitalization project at next meeting

The pool revitalization project will be on the agenda at the Dec. 8 meeting for council to vote on.

The District of Port Hardy has finished the alternative approval process to borrow 2.3 million dollars from taxpayers to help pay for the much anticipated pool revitalization project.

When asked to comment, Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas said that while the borrowing of funds isn’t quite official yet, “it’s basically a go now, and it’s just a matter of getting the results from the alternative approval process in front of council.”

He added it will be on the agenda at their Dec. 8 meeting for council to vote on, and he is confident they will be in favour of borrowing the money.

If council does vote in favour of it, the district will then continue on with their applications for grants that will fund the rest of the 8.5 million dollars that is needed to finalize the project once and for all.

“Once we know we’ve got the grant funds in place we can use them to get the tender bids out,” stated Dugas, who added he’s hoping the project will finally start construction sometime in 2021, “but that will all depend on how fast we get the funding… We feel good about where we are at with the total costs, and at this particular time, we don’t anticipate there will be any tax increase on residents.”

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.

Thanks to tender bids coming in 40 per cent higher than anticipated, the district was forced to go looking for more capital from the provincial government (the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture and Recreation grant) as the project’s budget had ballooned up to $22.4 million.

The grant funding was denied, so the district decided to go with a cheaper project to revitalize the old pool.


@NIGazette
editor@northislandgazette.com

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