The Echo 67 Aquatic Centre is nearing the end of its service life, and many people in Port Alberni want to see a new pool. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

LETTER: City should spend reserves on pool, not path

All too often, to avoid public scrutiny, councils have used reserve funds to pay for pet projects…

To the Editor,

At two recent council meetings I have encouraged city council to save the $3,142,411 million dollars of reserve funds they have allocated over the next two years for the Quay-to-Quay path, and instead, save it for a new aquatic centre.

All too often, to avoid public scrutiny, councils have used reserve funds to pay for pet projects instead of taxing or borrowing for them, and this is just another example. If they save $3.1 million dollars of reserves plus $2 million from the community forest dividend it would total over $5 million that could be used to help pay for a new pool.

The mayor says the reserve funds are simply a “placeholder” to get funding. But if successful, the city would have to generate $5 million dollars for their two-thirds of the cost for the path. That means use reserves, raise taxes, borrow money, or some combination of all three. It is very clear, from the five-year plan, that the intent is to use reserve funds over the next two years. Why is council not being transparent and honest on the funding and costs for the path along the tracks?

As I have said, the key to the success of the pool is for the city to take the leadership position, save as much reserves as possible over the next few years, making it more affordable for the taxpayers of the city and regional areas.

No doubt it’s going to take hard work, cooperation and some sacrifice. But I know the community is up to the challenge because they see the importance of a new aquatic centre for the health and well-being of all.

The value and benefits of a new aquatic centre for kids, families, seniors and the whole region far outweigh that of a path along the tracks.

Randy Fraser,

Port Alberni

Alberni Valley News