Andrea DeMeer                                Approximately 90 people attended the open house.

Andrea DeMeer Approximately 90 people attended the open house.

Residents dive into pool details

Tax increase of $50 to $100 per household predicted

Princeton residents got their first glimpse of detailed plans for the proposed aquatic and wellness center at an open house Wednesday afternoon.

The $27 million Bridge Street facility is to include:

• five lane lap pool up to 6.8 feet deep, suitable for competitive swimming and meets

• leisure pool with tots area, overheads sprays and rehabilitation features

• lazy river

• hot pool

• upper level walking track, pickleball courts and exercise area

• coffee bar

• party and meeting rooms

• 46 surface parking stalls and 43 underground parking stalls

Approximately people crowded the 2.5 hour information session at Riverside Center, and an evening session is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Two consultants made presentations covering capital costs and goals, as well as operating costs and strategies.

According to information from a recently completed feasibility study the plan is for $22 million to be contributed from the provincial and federal governments. Five million dollars will be sourced from local fundraising activities, major corporate donations, the Community Forest Corporation and accumulating reserve taxation falling out of the Copper Mountain Mine boundary extension.

“I can tell you positively that we are not going to put the town at risk for financial distress or hardship,” said Mayor Frank Armitage. “I’m very sensitive to our obligations.”

He added there “are very good” provincial and federal infrastructure grant programs on offer at present and he has received “reassurances from two major corporate sponsors that they would like to be engaged.”

He said “no spade will go into the ground” until capital funding is secure.

According to pool operations consultant Peter McLeod the net annual cost of operating the pool will be between $500,000 and $650,000 annually.

That number was reached after an “apples to apples” comparison of costs from eight other community pools, after their budget numbers were adjusted to reflect what new costs the pool would create for Princeton.

Armitage said operating the pool would create “a small increase in your annual property tax” amounting to between $50 and $100 per household.

Properties in the low assessment range only paying $100 per year currently would not likely see any increase, he added.

The bulk of operating costs would be covered by $300,000 of yearly boundary extension tax revenue, savings of $100,000 currently spent on the outdoor pool, and user fees, he said.

The mayor confirmed that the municipality will be “developing this project on its own” and the numbers reflect plans that do not include Area H support.

“If at some point Area H wants to come on board we would welcome them with open arms,” he said.

Follow the Spotlight for updates and reactions on the pool proposal.

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