BY BILL PHILLIPS
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 is 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.