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Letters to the Editor

A reader writes about the need for transparency around the Cache Creek pool's future

Dear Editor,

Recently the HUB Online Network hosted an online forum regarding the Cache Creek pool. I feel it necessary to clarify the thoughts of many of us who participated in and/or viewed the forum on Facebook.

We request that council open the pool for the regular season/s, until council conducts public consultation that includes information and options about the future of the pool facility (or another facility), with costings and genuine possibilities for the future.

We also request that council embark on a public budget consultation process to identify and communicate a broad range of budget options with present and future costs; gather taxpayers’ input and feedback on budget options; report this feedback to the public; identify budget priorities according to this feedback; and report back to taxpayers for final public input before council votes on the 2021 annual budget.

In August 2019, the public presented its view to council that the Cache Creek pool be saved. Hundreds of signatures were gathered and presented in a petition, and were accompanied by a presentation to council and a large crowd of support. At that time, council passed a motion to hold a public meeting about the pool by October 2019. This meeting never occurred. We are asking council to please make good on their promise.

Since the petition was delivered in August 2019, council has made many costly spending decisions, including rejoining the community bus system; continuing to fund the Tourist Information Centre; joining the new joint bylaw officer service; changes to the union agreement; and the purchasing of costly outdoor holiday lights.

Council made these decisions, and other new spending decisions, without public consultation and without any plan for funding the pool. It feels as if they did not get the message that the community values the pool and wants council to find ways to ensure it stays open.

During recent council meetings, several council members have made comments about the pool facility; some have stated that they believe the pool has reached the end of its life. However, these comments are being made with no evidence, and members of the public will not find information on past meeting agendas, minutes, or other records available to the public. As a result, the public is dismayed, confused, and frustrated at the secrecy and lack of transparency.

At each request for information about the pool and when decisions will be made, the public are told that the discussion on the pool will occur at upcoming budget meetings. However, village budget meetings are closed. Those of us waiting for information on the pool are effectively being told that the discussion about the pool is private, and that council will not disclose to the public the very information we continue to request.

Will the pool open as usual on Saturday, May 22, 2021? Will there even be time for the pool to open this season? These delays have the public increasingly concerned that council will continue to bypass questions about the pool until time has passed and there are no options left. Before we know it, council’s indecision about the pool will have become a decision, summer will be over, and the pool will remain closed.

The importance of council presenting accurate, detailed facts and budget options to constituents is critical. We respectfully request that council reset, regroup, and provide us with the opportunity to have informative, genuinely caring, and transparent dialogue. Please restore the confidence of your constituents by planning for public feedback opportunities and long-range budget planning, and making good the broken promises to hundreds of citizens about the Cache Creek pool.

Carmen Ranta

Cache Creek, B.C.

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