Letter to the citizens March 25, 2021
Today, I will give you some updates on the Covid -19 front and regarding the Rec Center.
The number of active cases in our health region is still quite high. We have 81 actives cases as of Friday morning March 26, 2021 for a total of 753 cases since the beginning of the pandemic and we can report that our total number of casualties has not increased this past week. For this, we are very grateful. Students at the Junior High are out of quarantine and back to school as of today. This is encouraging, however we all need to remain vigilant. As you may have heard on the news, Dr Hinshaw , the Alberta Chief Medical Officer is concerned at the rapidly expanding number of the UK variant cases in Southern Alberta. In her estimation, it poses a potential threat to all the efforts made in administrating the Covid-19 vaccine as fast as possible to as many who will accept it. Once more, I encourage all our citizens to unite in the fight against Covid with renewed determination by simply following the well known steps outlined for the past year on the AHS website: keeping 6 feet or 2 meters apart, frequent hand washing or/and sanitizing, mask wearing when and where necessary, avoiding home parties and large gathering and avoiding unnecessary travels. May we all take this challenge seriously and monitor our own progress and quickly correct our behaviour when we start to keep our guards down. Together, we will have the strength to fight this uphill battle! Let’s do it!
Update on the rec Center
Last week, I told you that Council would look at the results of the Survey as one element to guide Council’s decision making process prior to reviewing the budget for 2021 and setting the Mill rates. That was the plan!
The survey generated 507 returns or 33% of all households who received one. Although this survey was flawed from the onset because it did not offer respondents the full background of information regarding the rec facility to help them with their decision making, it still generated some interesting results as follows. The majority of householders surveyed would like to see some sort of a rec center to enjoy year long physical activities, however, the general appetite to support the operational costs of such facility through increased taxes varied from none to very low (50 dollars per year) for residential, or at best moderate for a very limited amount of businesses (up to 200 dollars per year). About half of the householders surveyed would accept paying some fees towards the operation of a facility. So to recap in one sentence, YES to a facility, but NO if substantial taxes or fees are required.
The open comment section offered some interesting insights. The following recurring theme seemed to emerge. It was addressed by respondents in favour of a rec facility, but who questioned the timing for such capital expenditure considering the need for money /taxes to address more urgent capital infrastructure priorities at the municipal level in such uncertain and volatile provincial economic times. Some of these respondents offered some alternate solutions to the proposed facility and its location by seeking partnerships with the Golf Club Association or with other existing institutions to mitigate the cost factor. So in a sentence: YES to a facility, but the TIMING does not seem quite right and seek PARTNERSHIPS to lessen the costs.
To allow the pickle ball association the opportunity to raise the funds for a proposed recreation facility, Council approved to set aside 1 million dollars in Town and provincial funding to support the fundraising effort. The exact details of the funding will be worked out over the Council meetings in April.
What the facility will cost, where it will be located, what it will look like, what it will cost you is yet to be determined. Administration and the Pickle Ball Association will need to work together to find partnerships, donors and users for this facility. Council will now have to find creative and lean ways to operate the facility since the appetite to pay tax is not there as indicated in the Survey. So stay posted!
Always a pleasure to serve you.
Leave a Comment
Thank you for your written summary of the meeting. As I stated at council I am glad we have a financially prudent group guiding our town. As president of the pickle ball association I can say that our group eagerly accepts the challenge to raise the money to make this a reality. Regarding ongoing costs for years to come I look forward to sharing some basic calculations which if they represent accurate use, and based on the recent rental of Freddies for the month of March, show that user fees for basic pickle ball use we could raise up to $40,000 per year. I eagerly look forward to working with the town and council as we explore this new project.