I attended the public meeting last Tuesday about the proposed aquatic centre and while the turnout was not as high as I anticipated, it was generally an excellent information process. The two handouts were quite clear and easy to understand. It was confirmed that EVERYONE who is a resident of Princeton and Area H for at least 30 days prior to the vote, a Canadian citizen, lived in British Columbia for at least 6 months and of voting age would have a vote in the decision making to borrow the necessary funds, renters included.
The cost to each landowner (only where a residence is located, not on vacant land) on their property taxes would be what is called a parcel rate, otherwise a flat rate, of $283.60 or less per year for 20 years and includes capital plus operation moneys. When one considers the increase in our homeowner grants this year and possibly in the future, the fact that a large number of residents qualify for the senior’s grant as well and some even qualify for the handicapped portion of the property tax grants, I don’t think many will notice a great increase in the actual dollar amount they would have to pay. Those who own rental properties calculate their mortgage, sewer and water and property taxes when they decide how much rent to charge, so it would not cost these people any more money as it comes out of their rental income.
One gentleman pointed out that he used the current outdoor pool daily to swim laps and that he was the only one who did this – my answer to that is that the current pool smells terrible. The chemicals they use in the water make me itch and it is too cold getting in and out of this pool. I feel quite strongly that an indoor pool would be used much more often for those who like to do lengths or just have fun in a pool as the conditions are much more comfortable.
Health issues were also discussed briefly – especially the increase in the number of diabetes or pre-diabetes in this area. I just happen to be one of these people and know that exercise is of the greatest importance with this disease. I am not a biker or aerobic type person and really only walk or work in my gardens – definitely not enough exercise to help combat this and many other ailments/diseases. I think having the pool would convince me to get off my duff and go for a swim which is proven to be one of the healthiest exercises a person can get as you get a full body workout with little physical effort.
It is noted that the majority of people present at this first meeting preferred a proper diving depth to the pool and not the currently suggested depth of 2.1 meters. The suggested design is NOT written in stone and can be adapted to community needs as necessary. The only thing we are asked to vote on in this referendum is the dollars to be spent on the acquisition of this aquatic centre. The actual details of the facility built can be adjusted to suit the majority.
Personally, I feel that if we want to improve our town, give all citizens another choice of something to do, give out-of-towners another place to go for entertainment and fun (one example mentioned is the young people coming for hockey tournaments and there is nothing for them to do, but sit in the motel rooms when not on the ice), improve our personal health and make this town and area more attractive to everyone, this centre is essential. I would encourage everyone to attend the next town meeting when it is announced, so that we can all be well informed when it is time to vote. This would be money very well spent.