As the date looms closer for eligible voters to take part in a referendum for the Summerland Recreation Centre, the district is ramping up public information sessions to help provide key details.
On Nov. 4, 2023, citizens will decide whether they approve the district borrowing up to $50 million to develop the Summerland Recreation Centre — meaning an increased burden on taxpayers.
The current Summerland Aquatic & Fitness Centre has been an ongoing topic for council, as the aging aquatic building approaches the end of its usable lifespan.
The district said all major building mechanical, electrical and pool systems of the current facility have exceeded their expected usable life. Most of the building envelope is in poor condition with significant air and water leakage and the potential for mold.
"The facility is consuming 86 per cent more energy per unit of floor area than the average swimming pool, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to source facility replacement parts due to antiquated electrical, plumbing and pool systems."
A public engagement process in late 2021 revealed strong public support for constructing a brand new centre, rather than investing in upgrading the existing one.
The proposed facility includes an aquatic centre; fitness centre; two multi-purpose rooms; universal access and family change rooms; and modern energy efficiency building standards.
Summerland is hosting a public open house, as well as several other in-person engagement and information drop-in opportunities throughout the community between now and voting day.
"The intention is to give members of the public an opportunity to talk directly with District staff, learn about the project, ask questions, and get answers in real time," the district said in a news release.
Information regarding voter eligibility and voting dates, times, and locations will also be available at the information sessions.
Both the Open House and Public Information Drop-Ins are open to the public with no registration required, drop-in at any time within the allocated times.
Upcoming events and pop-up information booths include:
- Open House on Oct 11 at the Summerland Arena Banquet Room from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
- Public Information Drop-In on Oct. 18 at the Aquatic & Fitness Centre from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
- Public Information Drop-In on Oct. 19 at the Aquatic & Fitness Centre from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
“The proposed Summerland Recreation Centre is a significant decision for our community,” said Mayor Doug Holmes.
“How we decide to move forward collectively will shape Summerland’s future when it comes to sport, recreation, wellness and youth/family amenities and programming. That’s why it’s so important for council and the district to do everything we can to help residents learn about the project with accurate, fact-based information, understand why a new facility is being proposed, and what this type of investment would mean for taxpayers."
If a community group would like a recreation centre referendum information presentation (in-person or via Zoom), requests can be made by emailing [email protected] or calling the Summerland Aquatic & Fitness Centre at 250-494-0447.
"This is the time to have these really important conversations, and then on November 4th, the decision is up to you. So come out and be part of the referendum process. This is our community, your vote,” Holmes added.
Information about the proposed Summerland Recreation Centre and the upcoming referendum can also be found online anytime, including a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), videos, facility studies and reports, Council reports, and more.
Visit www.summerland.ca/recreationcentre to find a link to the interactive webpage.