Town council voted to bank $1.24 million in an account that has been earmarked to fund the proposed aquatic center, at its regular meeting Monday night.
At the same time it established a policy that would see all money from the Vermilion Forks Community Forest Corporation and the Copper Mountain Mine property tax directed into the reserve for future amenity, which because of the resolution will sit at $2.02 million at the end of this year.
While council voted unanimously in favor of the plan, the move was not without criticism. Following the meeting resident Tom Guerster told council “it seems to me you are hoarding the money.”
Guerster said the money would be better-spent repairing roads and sidewalks, and water system infrastructure.
“It blows me away,” he said. “Shouldn’t we address the problems that we have right now?”
Infrastructure director Michael Mazeruk responded by stating roads and sidewalks are being repaired according to an agreed upon schedule.
“The problems you mentioned are being addressed,” added Mayor Frank Armitage.
Guerster countered: “I’m not satisfied with that answer.”
According to a report prepared by interim CAO Bob Wilson “the annual contribution to this reserve could be in the neighborhood of $600,000 so it should be less than five years before the fund reaches $5 million.”
Five million dollars is the amount the municipality would have to commit to constructing the indoor pool, provided the town receives the necessary provincial and federal grants to offset the majority of the capital costs.
The report also states “although the reserve is open ended, recently council implied that this money could be used towards the town’s share of the capital cost to building The Princeton Health and Wellness and Aquatic Centre.
This reserve is not a statutory reserve, but a division of general surplus so council has some flexibility with this reserve.”