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

Port Hardy mayor clarifies controversial ‘multiplex project tax’

‘The tax money is in reserve’

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas has heard the grumblings on social media about the district’s ‘multiplex tax’ and he wants to set the record straight.

“When we were going to do the multiplex project we had a referendum (in 2016) and were approved to borrow six million dollars from the taxpayers,” stated Dugas, who then noted that the tax dollars collected have been “put aside because we have to have monies in our reserves to cover the costs for when we go for borrowing. The percentage of that cost is coming out of the district’s funds to be able to do the project. The tax money is in reserve, now whether the funds are going towards a brand new facility or major repairs of the old one, we still have to have that money ready. It’s being held for that and nothing else.”

Dugas added the Parks, Arts and Recreation committee is just starting to have conversations about what the future holds for the multiplex project.

Quick facts about the multiplex project:

The district had previously budgeted $12.6 million dollars to build a smaller-sized version of the project, but thanks to tender bids coming in 40 per cent higher than anticipated, they were forced to go looking for more capital from the governments and key stakeholders all over the Regional District of Mount Waddington. To date, Port Hardy has six million from the Strategic Priorities Fund, six million borrowed from Port Hardy taxpayers, $430,060 in reserves, $250,000 donated from Mowi, and an annual payment of $50,000 from the Regional District of Mount Waddington (which the district has to apply for every year for 30 years to get the full one million dollars). Thanks to the tender bids coming in so high, the budget for the project ballooned to $22.4 million.

Back on March 27, the district issued a news release stating it was not selected for funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure-Community, Culture and Recreation Program.


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