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Cariboo Regional District to hold another referendum on pool upgrades in Quesnel

This time the proposal is for $35 million in upgrades, including a waterslide
The swimming pool in Quesnel, located at the Quesnel Arts and Recreation Centre, is estimated to be 40 years old and is in need of architectural, mechanical and electrical upgrades. (Rebecca Dyok file photo — Quesnel Observer)

For the second time in just a few years, residents will be asked to vote again on a proposal to the aquatics facility in Quesnel, this time featuring a waterslide.

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and city of Quesnel announced this week (Jan. 18) they are officially proceeding to referendum on $35 million in proposed upgrades to pool facilities at the Quesnel and District Arts and Recreation Centre.

This referendum was recommended by the North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee, which is responsible for overseeing and recommending actions related to parks and recreation services and facilities in the Quesnel area.

If the referendum is approved by voters in the recreation service area, several facility upgrades would be able to occur, including upgrades to the family change rooms; mechanical and electrical system updates; replacing the leisure pool, hot tub, and saunas; and installing a waterslide, noted the CRD in a news release.

The proposed upgrades are expected to cost upwards of $35 million, and would be largely financed by borrowing funds from the municipal finance authority.

This would result in an estimated increase to residential taxation for the sub-regional service by $75 per $100,000 of assessed property value based on current property assessments. The budgeted amount was estimated by an independent quantity surveyor, and provides for allowances to address the risk of cost escalation over the course of the project.

The referendum date must be confirmed by the CRD’s chief elections officer. A public education and engagement campaign will be conducted in advance of the referendum with the goal of informing voters about the scope and outcomes of the proposed project, educating them about the outcomes of any decision they are being asked to make, and empowering them to make the final decision.

In 2021, residents rejected a proposal to borrow $20 million to renovate the pool by a narrow margin, with 1,001 people voting no and 941 people voting yes (52.5 per cent – 47.5 per cent).

Renovations at that time would have included a new leisure pool, sauna, family change rooms and whirlpool alongside a re-tiling of the area around the 25-metre pool.

The vote was open to all eligible voters in the North Cariboo Recreation and Parks service area.

The estimated residential tax increase due to the project would have been $45/$100,000. The project includes people living in Quesnel, and parts of Cariboo Regional District (CRD) areas A, B, C and I.

According to minutes from the Dec. 13, 2022 North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee meeting, city councillor Debra McKelvie and CRD directors Jim Glassford and Mary Sjostrom opposed the motion to take the proposal to referendum.

- With a file from Canssidy Dandochik and the Cariboo Regional District

Read More: “Back to the drawing board” — CRD Director disappointed in Quesnel pool referendum turnout

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Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

A desire to travel led me to a full-time photographer position at the Williams Lake Tribune in B.C.’s interior.
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