To the Editor,
It was interesting to read that Port Alberni City Council voted to create a contingency fund for the replacement of the pool which in their words is a “first step.” I beg to differ.
The first step was created by the parks and recreation advisory commission more than two decades ago in the form of the parks and recreation capital reserve, which was created specifically to fund major capital infrastructure projects like the pool. The reserve was funded initially by setting aside five percent of all parks and recreation revenues, including admissions, programs, log sales and land sales. The contribution was later increased to 10 percent.
The fund is user financed and has a current balance of $2.5 million. So why create a new “contingency” fund?
Sure, a new reserve with little thought and no agreement on exactly how to generate funds for it. Let’s face it, this council wants to plunder the parks and recreation reserve and build their quay to quay industrial walkway.
They should follow Vancouver’s lead and develop the waterfront walkway when land becomes available and fund it through redevelopment.
If council is indeed serious about the replacement of the pool they should abandon their newly created pool “contingency fund” and commit to use all of the parks and recreation capital reserve specifically for the pool project. A further commitment should be made to allocate all present and future Alberni Valley Community Forest funds to the pool project ($3 million).
If Council can identify $7.2 million for the quay to quay walkway, imagine what they could cobble together for the pool!
Council also needs to lead on this project. The city has the expertise and experience to guide the process and operate the new facility, the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District does not.
Editor’s note: Scott Kenny is a retired Parks, Recreation and Heritage director for the City of Port Alberni.