Alberni city budget – Park and Rec pitches plan

At Alberni's Parks and Rec, a new pool should be saved for, lockers replaced and there will be changes to fees for seniors and students.

There’s lots to be done, nothing left to cut, and a pool that is in its twilight, Parks and Recreation director Scott Kenny said.

Kenny made his department’s budget presentation along with the Alberni Valley Museum and Mclean Mill at a special council meeting on Monday night.

According to Kenny, the department’s $4.8 million budget will remain static again this year.

Capital projects slated for parks and rec this year include:

  • $700,000 for Bob Dailey Stadium track repair. A $400,000 grant has been applied for, with the balance coming out of the department’s capital reserve fund;
  • $350,00 for city hall roof replacement, with the money coming from the land sale reserve fund;
  • $102,000 for HVAC upgrades at Echo Centre HVAC, the money for which will come from Gas Tax money;
  • $100,000 for the washrooms at Harbour Quay underwritten with land sale reserve money;
  • $70,000 for locker replacement at Echo Pool paid for with funds out of the operating budget.

Kenny warned councillors that the pool is kept in good repair, but that it has 10-15 years of life left. The cost to build a new facility isn’t in the five-year plan. “The economy won’t support it — it’s the wrong time to do it,” Kenny said.

Borrowing for a new pool isn’t in the cards, grants sizes are too small to note, and corporate donations would be limited in the current economy. “We need to start to set aside money for a new pool,” Kenny said.

A change to fees and charges is on the books as well. Kenny is proposing doing away with the senior’s rate and making it a flat $3 for those under age 18 and over age 55. Admission is proposed to be free for people over age 80.

A return to the annual pass at a cost of $212 per person is also slated.

The ACRD will likely not continue its $81,000 contribution. “They’re not going to go there,” Kenny said.

A 16 per cent decrease in AV Multiplex concession revenue is also projected due to declines in attendance at AV Bulldogs games, Kenny said.

An increase also has been pencilled in for parks operations, which is going from $1,112,000 to $1,137,161.

The city’s pesticide bylaw has had a negative impact on the parks department. There are no equally effective commercial products available, and city staff has to hand pull weeds, which are proliferating around city facilities.

Revenues have been maxed out and the department has already been cut to the bone. “There’s always money to cut, but you’ll be cutting services,” Kenny said.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

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