There was an information meeting for the Princeton Aquatic Centre project 10 am this morning at the Tulameen Community Hall. Notably, there were quite a few people there from Coalmont.
Lyle Thomas led the meeting and started with a presentation. The key point of departure, as on the information sheets we were sent in the mail, was the “public process” as contained in their 1998 Master Plan. Presumably this shows support for an aquatic centre in all communities and that we are actually “one community”.
Moving on, Thomas explains “it’s easy to sell the benefits”. Indeed, it was easy to convince people there that a fancy pool would be nice, but other points about economic benefits to “the community” appeared to be met with some scepticism by those present.
As for the funding, Thomas, to his credit, did make it clear that the maximum that could be charged on the parcel tax is $361. Nevertheless, he seemed over confident that it would not go over $301. The explanation of how it would eventually go down also seemed a bit shallow as it included an expectation of the population going up – something which does not bear out well statistically. In the end, the economic feasibility still comes down to hoping for the same number of grants being available as there have been in past years, and a hope for donations. As well, the financial impact on both the RDOS and Princeton of using this much money, regardless of where it comes from, on a non-critical project was not clarified. In fact, it was carefully avoided.
When it came to asking questions at the end, it became obvious that the Princeton Aquatic Centre is quite a controversial project. There was a lot of harsh criticism as well as some good insights and suggestions from the audience. In the end, it became clear that we really are not “one community”. Certainly, judging from the people present, there is little support for such an expensive facility, particularly if we have to pay for it and it is located so far from where we live. §