Pool and firehall referenda passed by voters

 

Mayor Lyn Hall
Mayor Lyn Hall

BY BILL PHILLIPS

bill@pgdailynews.ca

Prince George residents have approved borrowing up to $50 million to replace the Four Seasons Pool and Firehall #1.

The firehall question, whether to borrow up $15 million to replace the firehall and relocated to Massey Drive, passed easily with 82.79 per cent voting yes (6,520 yes to 1,355 no).

The Four Seasons Pool replacement question, whether to borrow up to $35 million to build a new pool on the Days Inn site, passed with 62.48 per cent of voters saying yes (4,923 yes to 2,926 no).

Mayor Lyn Hall said council and staff did its best to listen to what the community wanted, and act on it.

“What I’m happy about is that we got the message out to the community the way we did, that we had community involvement giving council direction,” he said. “That’s what pleases me.”

He said it’s what this council has been doing through the term with initiatives like the Talktober sessions.

“Early on what we wanted to do was identify the buildings that needed attention, through the facility audit,” he said. “The firehall and the Four Seasons were our No. 1 priority. We needed it, we wanted to go to a referendum, we wanted to hear from the residents, and we did our best to get out in the community.”

Council held about a dozen various information sessions and open houses to explain why the replacements were needed. And Hall and city manager Kathleen Soltis hit the ‘bread and butter’ circuit, offering to speak to community groups and organizations that wanted to listen.

“We wanted to get accurate information out to the residents so they could make an informed decision,” he said. “We said we’re going to take out into the community in various ways. We just wanted to get the information out.”

Residents likely won’t see much change downtown though as the project design work will be the first item on the agenda.

“Now what you’ll see is they’ll start working on solid plans and dates,” said Hall. “This isĀ  long process. (City manager) Kathleen (Soltis) and her team will start working on it the next week or so and will see things starting to come together in the new year.”

The city will move fairly quickly, however, on purchasing the Days Inn site.

  • Evelyn Rebman

    Happy about the yesterday’s referendum. These items need to be dealt with before other restorations becomes critical. And they will. We are a growing city and need to keep up with the times. Thanks to Mayor Hall, his council and city staff for their progressive oversight.

  • rigormortice

    With a total vote count of 7879 we are looking at approx 15% turnout . There are approx 52,000 eligible voters in Prince George. So not a very high turnout for what can only be considered as an extremely huge expenditure of money. $50 Million for the fire hall and pool, plus another $6.5 million for the purchase of Days Inn and tearing down the old pool and fire hall, plus $30 + Million interest on borrowing over 20 years. Generally politician like to think that those who did not turn out to vote support the initiative, however its more likely that voter apathy was at play here.

    The real issue now, is to ensure that Council and City Administration use every means possible to try and reduce the costs of these facilities. In other words ensure that we take advantage of Federal and Provincial funding, and if possible donations from the various business’s, social clubs, etc; that supported these projects. There are many ways that the City can ensure that these facilities cost us much less that the $50 Million that they got the **ok** to borrow. Its one thing to have the authority to borrow, and its another to ensure that you only borrow whats absolutely necessary.

    So we will have to see how this unfolds going forward.