The Cariboo Regional District will hold a referendum seeking approval from area residents to borrow up to $10 million to renovate Sam Ketcham Memorial Pool.
The referendum was announced in a joint press released from the CRD and City of Williams Lake this week.
The city and CRD are acting on a recommendation from the Central Cariboo Joint Committee that was received by the CRD board Nov. 29
The referendum is scheduled for Nov. 15, 2014 and will ask voters if they approve borrowing up to $10 million over 20 years to upgrade the pool.
The remainder of the cost of the approximately $11.3-million project will need to be made up from grants, fundraising, and capital reserves, the press release states.
Proceeding with the project would result in an increase for Central Cariboo Recreation services of approximately $40 per $100,000 of residential assessment, including operating costs of the expanded facility.
If the proposed upgrade does not proceed, a $2 million project to repair the main pool tank is urgently required and would still need to be undertaken within the next few years.
The proposed concept would see the current main pool tank replaced, vital mechanical systems replaced and a new leisure pool added onto the existing Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex building.
The replacement of the current pool and construction of the leisure pool would be built in two separate phases, ensuring that one pool would be operational at all times during construction.
The concept also calls for the construction of a second floor above the existing change rooms to house multi-use and fitness space. The change rooms would also be expanded.
The proposed concept was the overwhelming choice of stakeholders and residents during extensive public consultation in 2012 by the Pool Task Force.
The pool, which is 30 years old, is in dire need of renovation or replacement.
All eligible voters within the Central Cariboo Recreation services boundary, which includes residents in the City of Williams Lake as well as adjacent areas such as 150 Mile House, Wildwood, Esler and Mountview, will be eligible to participate in the referendum.
More information about the proposed concept and the referendum will be provided by the city and the CRD on their websites, open houses and through mail-outs to residents in the months to come.
“We encourage all residents eligible to vote to learn more about the project and to make your voice heard in the referendum,” said Mayor Kerry Cook, co-chair of the Central Cariboo Joint Committee. “Everyone should be part of deciding on a project of this size and significance.”
Joan Sorley, Central Cariboo Joint Committee co-chair, said what happens next will depend solely on what the public decides.
“We’ve made a lot of progress over the past two years, but we simply can’t do much more without a clear signal from the public and the only way to get that signal is through a referendum,” Sorely said. “We will provide a great deal of information over the next 12 months to ensure residents have the information they need to help make a decision that is right for them.”
The Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex Pool Feasibility Study can be viewed on the CRD website at www.cariboord.bc.ca or on the City of Williams Lake’s website at www.williamslake.ca.