A discussion about Port Hardy’s new pool complex turned into a bit of a water fight.
At the Regional District of Mount Waddington board meeting Sept. 21, some directors took issue with Port Hardy expecting a financial contribution for the pool and it being referred to as a “regional” facility.
The directors felt if funds were expected from the RDMW, then their ratepayers should have been included in a referendum being held in Port Hardy in October.
Mayor Hank Bood explained that if Port Hardy residents vote against spending $12 million on the new pool at the referendum scheuled for October, then the RDMW contributing funds is a non-issue, so that is why a request for funding participation hasn’t officially been brought to the board table.
“I do have a concern with this process,” said Acting Board Chair Andrew Hory from Area C. “I’m going to have to take this to my voters,” Hory said. “The cart is a little bit backwards here. It seems to violate the correct order of things,” said Hory.
Town of Port McNeill Mayor Shirley Ackland agreed, saying she will have to go to her community to ask if they want to fund the new pool in Port Hardy, when their own is nearing the end of its life cycle, and that one of the biggest priorities in her community is developing a gathering place for seniors.
“It’s (funding the pool) never been at this table as an agenda item. There is no motion from this board about the facility. I don’t know how to fix this,” Ackland said.
“It’s too late in the process to ask for partners,” said Area A (Sointula) Directory Heidi Soltau.
Area B Director Phil Wainwright asked if Port Hardy had considered user fees or different rates “as a way of running your pool.”
“This is a facility that is going to be serving the North Island. Period.,” said Port Hardy Director Pat Corbett-Labatt, adding that Port Hardy will go ahead with or without the RDMW’s support.
“I’m not sure why you’re not jumping up and down (about this),” Corbett-Labatt said.
There was an opportunity for the regional district to attend stakeholder and charette sessions “and not one of you showed up,” said Bood. “We went through extraordinary efforts to make sure that you were invited.”
“If the referendum fails in Port Hardy, the project is dead,” said Bood, adding that between 25 and 40 per cent of people who use the pool are from the RDMW.
“I’m not going to pout if you’re not part of it,” said Bood.