The District of Port Hardy’s multiplex project has been given the green light to go ahead, thanks to the approval of a $6,000,000 Gas Tax Fund.
“The Port Hardy multiplex project will promote growth and sustainability for the North Island. We want you to come here, live here and stay here,” said Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood via press release.
The multiplex project has been a goal of the district since 2015, and “This funding will help build a facility to support a healthy, active North Island,” said Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick.
According to the press release, “Residents of the North Island are going to receive an amazing Aquatic Centre which will have a 25-meter pool containing lap lanes that share the body of water with a slide, lazy river, zero beach entry and a leisure/programmable area, as well as a sauna and large hot tub with accessible entry.”
“We are pleased to be able to share this project with the North Island and look forward to many years of splashing and leisure enjoyment at the Port Hardy Multiplex,” added McCarrick.
With the $6,000,000 from the Gas Tax Fund, $50,000 from the Regional District of Mount Waddington, and a $250,000 donation from Marine Harvest, the District of Port Hardy is financially ready to start construction, but first they will need council to approve the logistics of the project.
“We have to have that discussion before we can proceed with building,” said Coun. Fred Robertson, who is currently the Deputy Mayor while Bood is away on vacation. “We have some decisions to make, because the price tag has gone up a bit since we started this, and we need to have up-to-date designs and adjustments made.”
Robertson added Marine Harvest could potentially be donating another $250,000 over 10 years to the project, and there are still decisions to be made regarding what to do with the old pool and the Kyle Scow Memorial Skatepark. “That’s part of the decision process, they’re going to cost money whatever we decide to do, and we will need to have that discussion.”
Back in November, Port Hardy council announced they had heard from the public there was more the community wanted to see in a new aquatic facility. Council met and discussed these concerns and decided to work towards the following (approx prices):
New pool as currently designed $11,365,300;
Demolish the existing pool facility $558,090;
Build a new skateboard park in place of the existing pool (could be phased) $353,925;
Add another lane to the pool (total four lanes) $356,265;
Add additional deck space to accommodate a bigger and better slide $336,300; and
Build in a mezzanine with a viewing area and additional room to the the new pool facility $631,800.
With these changes, the total amount of the project grew to $13,604,680.
Quick facts about the Port Hardy Multiplex project:
The current Port Hardy 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 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, and the District started looking to pursue grant funding for 2/3 of the $12,000,000 project.
The District of Port Hardy has a population of 4,132 (2016 Census).