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Golden and Area A votes yes to proposed indoor aquatic centre

The vote was 1,172 ‘yes’ to 423 ‘no’.
A sketch of what a potential Aquatic facility would look like in the area. (CSRD photo).

Residents of Golden and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A voted ‘yes’ in a landslide vote to the loan authorization referendum on the proposed indoor aquatic centre.

The question asked, “are you in favour of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District adopting Golden and Area Aquatic Centre Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 5849, 2022, which will permit the regional district to borrow up to $18 million over a 30-year term to be utilized towards the capital cost to construct an indoor aquatic centre as an addition to the existing Golden and District Recreation Centre?”

The vote was 1,172 ‘yes’ to 423 ‘no’.

Advance polls saw 445 ‘yes’ ballots to 147 ‘no’, mail ballots had 26 ‘yes’ to BLANK ‘no’, Parson Community Hall is reporting 70 ‘yes’ to 33 ‘no’ and Chatter Creek Heliport 11 ‘yes’ to six ‘no. The Golden Civic Centre reported 620 ‘yes’ votes to 234 ‘no’ votes.

The proposed Indoor Aquatic Centre facility would include a six-lane 25m lap pool, a separate leisure pool, lazy river, tots’ area, hot tub, sauna, steam room, multi-purpose room and a large lobby space intended as a community hub. The estimated cost of the facility is $35 million, with a $17 fundraising campaign underway. The referendum will seek approval of the electors for the remaining $18 million.

With the ‘yes’ vote, the CSRD has now committed more than $2.5 million towards the project, from the Whitetooth Ski Hill Legacy Fund and from the sale of the CSRD’s portion of the Golden Visitor Centre property, which sold in 2019.

The Town of Golden has committed $850,000 from the Whitetooth Ski Hill Legacy Fund, as well as $131,049 from the Economic Opportunity Fund.

The Whitetooth Legacy Fund was first put forward in 2006 by the CSRD and is intended to put to use the surplus funds from the sale of Golden’s previous ski hill, Whitetooth. The funding was used as “seed funding” to help develop community projects that benefit residents.

So far, $9.4 million in grant applications have been advanced. Community pledges are at $110,000, according to the CSRD.

The new facility will cost property owners in Golden an estimated $179 loan repayment, $110 operating cost contribution and $25 as a reserve contribution each year through property taxes (based on the average residential property value assessment of $451,976).

Property owners in Area A will have a $175 loan repayment, $95 for operating costs and $20 for capital reserve contributions (based on the average residential property value assessment of $465,042).

Currently, the average property owner in Golden pays $110 for the current pool, and CSRD property owners $25.

The new facility will be funded through the existing Electoral Area A and Golden Recreation Service Bylaw for the arena.

Design plans will begin in 2023, construction will begin in 2024-25 and the facility will be open by 2026.

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Claire Palmer

About the Author: Claire Palmer

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