The District of Port Hardy should find out by September if they have enough funds to build a brand new multiplex.
The news was released at a multiplex open house session Jan. 29 at the Port Hardy Civic Centre, where it was stated that the district needs to receive more capital from additional grant funding to make the project become a reality.
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 provincial government (the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture and Recreation grant) 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, which is the main reason why the district had to go out and apply for the additional funding in order to eventually break ground.
As far as being allowed to borrow six million from Port Hardy taxpayers, the district went to the public back in 2016 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, with 77 per cent of the voters saying yes to borrowing the money to build a new pool, giving the district the green light to do so.
The open house, which lasted for over two hours, saw numerous residents show up and speak their mind about all aspects of the project, and was actually live streamed on the district’s Facebook page, which you can view in full below.