March 11th, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 10
Can Do proceeds with rec centre business plan despite financial shortfall
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Pass Herald Reporter
With council’s blessing the Crowsnest Can Do Cultural and Recreation Society is producing a business plan for what might someday become the Crowsnest Pass’ very own $27 million cultural and recreation centre.
But at a March 4 meeting, several councillors were saying the municipality would not have the money to build the facility anytime soon.
“We appreciate what you guys are doing but [it comes down to] dollars, there’s no doubt about it and when we’re talking about that type of facility, it’s a lot of money,” says Councillor Bill Kovach.
“If we don’t put money into [the Pass Community Pool], we’re not going to even have one by the time we get your indoor pool,” says Kovach. “We have to keep our facilities going in the meantime until we can afford something.”
Councillor Dean Ward says the municipality’s recreation budget is tiny compared with neighbouring communities citing a tax sharing agreement between Teck Resources Ltd. and the communities of Sparwood, Elkford and Fernie.
“They get about $3.2 million a year from Teck,” says Ward. “That’s half our tax base there in one cheque…which allows them to have things we don’t.”
He also says a huge chunk of the municipality’s capital is being invested in projects to maintain roads and water and sewer infrastructure.
Ward says the Pass’ Parks and Recreation Authority has a yearly budget of about $1.1 million.
After meeting with the Parks and Recreation Authority, Ward says a recreation centre would not be economically feasible for the next five to ten years.
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Can Do spokesperson Heather Davis concedes the point but argues the community would attract more taxpayers if it had better recreation facilities.
“It’s a beautiful area, people want to live here but you have to offer that lifestyle,” she says.
Crowsnest Can Do President Tim Juhlin says demand for a recreation centre is high citing a report produced last year that shows more than 70 per cent of respondents want to see new recreation facilities. Fifty-five per cent of those respondents want an indoor pool.
He says there will be significant federal funding available in 2017 for rural communities to develop facilities when the nation celebrates its 150th birthday.
“We need to put a really good presentation in for the 2017 for the feds and I believe there will be money coming in.… we’ve got a year to take a strategic look at what we want,” says Juhlin.
Crowsnest Can Do is pushing for the construction of a recreation complex that would include an aquatic centre, indoor track, racquet ball courts, weight room, gymnasium, dance studio and live theatre facility.
Juhlin says the facility could be built in Coleman between Crowsnest Consolidated High School (CCHS) and the Coleman Sports Complex to so that it would be in close proximity to the high school gym and the arena.
March 11th ~ Vol. 85 No. 10
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