On Monday, September 12th, every Princeton Postal Box holder received a mailing, addressed to the Box holder, titled IMPORTANT POOL INFORMATION! Within the unmarked envelope, was a letter, on plain stationary! Though not under any official letterhead, at first glance the letter most obviously intended the reader to assume an official connect to Princeton Town Council and the RDOS. It especially inferred an RDOS endorsement when it closed with the statement: The enclosed public notice is the official publication of the RDOS on the referendum!
This turned out to be a cute trick – a fine example of lying with truth – because the envelope also contained a joint communication from the Town of Princeton and the RDOS, setting out the time, place and conditions of voting on the coming Aquatic Center referendum.
An obvious attempt to derail a positive outcome in the referendum – the letter attempts to place the Aquatic Centre in the worst possible light, calling it an extravagant proposal, cooked up by Princeton Town Council and RDOS arena employees! The letter raises the specter of economic doom for Princeton and Area H if we elect to enhance our community with an “exciting one-stop recreation centre” – their words and quotation marks!
The letter suggests that we, the people of poor and downtrodden Princeton have no right to aspire to such luxuries! This attitude, even though – at last the Copper Mine has reopened, Weyerhaeuser is still with us, and we are in better economic straits than we have been for many years. If not now – then when? What, pray tell, “Private Citizens”, is your BETTER WAY?
This negative stance is shared by several Letter to the Editor writers – vigorously poking holes in the recently circulated Princeton and District Aquatic Centre Feasibility Study. It is unfortunate that the committee, who worked long and hard on the report, had to adopt a very conservative, Worst Case scenario position, when addressing the cost of the development. It might have been a good strategy to present a Best Case scenario as well – but it appears that the rules of the game did not permit positive conjecture!
The letter in question suggests strongly that Princeton folk should get their heads out of the clouds and address the REALLY important issues – like a new Town Hall – and water and sewer studies – and 24/7 Emergency Room – the latter not even in our jurisdiction.
I object to this letter, not because it opposes the Aquatic Centre, but because it was launched deviously, along with a vigorous letter writing campaign, so late in the game that meaningful rebuttal becomes impossible in time for the votes – one of which already passed on Sept. 14th.
I strongly favor an Aquatic Centre for Princeton, almost at any cost, because I see it as a major benefit to the quality of life for the entire community, of all ages – unlike a new Town Hall, which true, would be nice for the employees!
I can be accused of having a vested interest. I suffer from Fibromyalgia. I can not participate in the vigorous exercises suggested by so many of you. Before moving to Princeton I took part in regular Aqua-fit sessions and benefitted greatly! Princeton has a considerable senior population and numerous, otherwise mobility challenged people, all of whom could benefit as much, or more, than I could.
Beyond my personal issues, however, I see a place where children can take swimming lessons and exercise year round, where we can have a viable Swim Club, where young adults can meet and enjoy a swim together, where fitness at any age can become the rage!
Many communities of comparable size have wonderful Aquatic Centres and have not gone bankrupt! Houston is a very good example. Visit www.houston.ca and see what can be accomplished!
One doubt being voiced strikes me as valid! I am personally perplexed by the proposed Parcel Tax to finance the project, rather than the good old mill rate which assesses property tax based on property value. The committee report suggests that a Parcel Tax is the most “fair” method! How exactly is it fair to take the same amount from a relatively low income owner living in a $150,000 home as you would take from relatively wealthy owner, living in a $1,000,000 holding? What becomes of rental properties? I pay property tax on six mobile homes, rented to tenants at a fair rent. The Mobile Park owner, my landlord, pays property tax on the Park itself! If we both have to pay the Parcel Tax – both costs increase and rents will have to be increased – an unforeseen consequence! Perhaps this idea could be revisited!
Despite this concern, I will vote YES, but many of you will succumb to propaganda and say NO. If the referendum fails, I hope we will not throw the baby out with the bathwater – assuring that there will NEVER be an Aquatic Centre in Princeton! I sincerely hope that we will return to the drawing board and come up with a new plan – perhaps one a bit less ambitious! It does not need to be a Cadillac! I would probably be quite happy with a Honda!
Let it not come to that! I sincerely hope you will vote YES and trust that minor details that now seem to loom large for some people will be ironed out for the common good!
Princeton needs this facility!