Stage Set for Referendum
Prince George, B.C. – Council for the City of Prince George has passed the pieces necessary to move forward with one or both projects, pending the outcome of a referendum this fall.
Council has given the first three readings to the borrowing bylaws required for the borrowing of dollars for the construction of a new Four Seasons pool ($35 million) and a replacement for Fire Hall #1 ($15 million).
Council has also given a thumbs up to the specific questions that will be asked when voters cast their views in the referendum on October 28th.
“I think this is a really exciting project” said Councillor Jillian Merrick about the proposal for a new Four Seasons Pool.
The preferred site is the lot which is currently home to the Days Inn. The $35 million does not include the purchase price of the site, or preparation. Staff indicate the purchase price and demolition and preparation of the Days Inn site could cost about $6 million dollars. Staff will be working hard to secure grants to help ease that cost.
Merrick did raise a concern about the loss of public parking but was assured the change to angle parking on 5th Avenue has already increased parking stalls by 38%.
Mayor Lyn Hall, says he likes the idea of looking at the Days Inn site because without it, there would be no pool in the downtown for a couple of years as the existing site went through the process of demolition and reconstruction.
Councillor Frank Everitt says residents have made it clear they want a pool “We can’t live without it, and we can’t live with it”
Staff also informed Council the Four Seasons Pool needs $10 million dollars in upgrades should the referendum fail.
As for the Fire Hall #1, the proposed relocation to Massey Drive, next to the YMCA, is expected to improve emergency response by 50% say staff.
Unlike the pool, there is no land acquisition cost associated with this project. The $15 million includes furniture, fixtures, upgrades to Massey Drive and a contingency.
“I look forward to this as well” said Councillor Frank Everitt ” Because it’s about the safety of our citizens.”
“I think it’s important to note that council and staff take this situation very seriously” said Councillor Susan Scott, she says the amount of money at stake “Is not taken lightly.”
So, what happens if the referendum fails for one, or both? Staff say there will be a special meeting of Council set for October 30th, post referendum results, to seek direction from Council.
Pray tell, wouldn’t it be a better idea, to group this ‘new pool’ Near the stadium upgrade? That would put it near the Y facilities and the ball diamonds. And use the current Four seasons site for a new Fire Hall? This would make it closer to the residential users.
We the tax payers expect that our taxes not only be used to “run” the city but also a percentage set aside to finance such projects as a new pool and fire hall. This continual borrowing on the part of the City Administration is just poor planning. How much interest will the city tax payers pay on 50+ million dollars? Is there any forward thinking at city hall?
It’s my understanding that several response time studies have been done already and that was why the Massey location was chosen.
Putting the new fire station near the Y compared to where it is now will make no difference in response times and is just a shell game in that the new fire station will be further from the current surrounding downtown and neighborhoods. It’s just a trade off to justify a new fire hall, so that downtown can be remodeled to meet the plan, of what ever the plan is to be?
You have the studies to prove your statement about response times? Please share.
Really? Go eat some more cheetos.
I agree with cheetos. There is no way that a Massey location is closer to Queensway which is a major residential and industrial artery of PG. Seems like it would make for a lot of overlap with the 5th and Ospika firehall.
The vast majority of population growth in PG is happening to the west and north of the city. Both of these areas are a fair distance from the bowl, at least in PG terms of “fair distance”. There are no swimming pools in either of these outlying areas.
There is virtually no meaningful population growth within the bowl, but there is already a pool located there which is no more than about 4-5KM from anywhere in the bowl.
Can someone explain the logic of putting ANOTHER pool in the bowl, as opposed to plopping it down in the west end or up the Hart?
Because it’s half way between the north and west sides of PG. Building it in the north or west side would mean longer distance to travel for the users living in the opposite end of the city.
So downsize the pool design and provide services to both areas of the city that are under served.
i sure hope the new pool gets defeated
The fire hall replacement makes more senses
Why on earth would you go out and spend 35 million , say 40 by the time it’s all done
When people can go to the acautic centre
City stop spending our money and driving up our faxes while us middle income are already struggling
Good point, FraserLake. Spending our money (borrowing it!) and taxing into the future makes no sense. But, something needs done about the small, outdated Fire Hall.
Current city council is gonna leave a mess for our next generation to pay for!
The fire hall needs replacing, no argument is there, the question is about the pool. why does it need replacement? It needs some repairs but I doubt the expected cost is what is needed. This is a pool that is used for recreational use, the aquatic centre is used for competitive use. I suspect the cost of repairing it is less than than the anticipated cost, it just needs the roof repaired and the usual repairs that we don’t pay for. This was something proposed by KPMG and they just want to bankrupt cities. To force them to sell of held properties.
The only argument I have heard is that the current pool does not meet accessibility standards. But the other political does and lots of older buildings don’t… we don’t in my mind just spend $35 million for accessibility issues.
Other pool… darn spell check…
I am sure the cost to address accessibility issues would be a lot less than 35 plus million. The accessibility issue is being dealt with at the library without building a new one.
What are they planning to do with the old fire hall and pool sites after they are replaced?
It would be nice to know what the overall plan is (unless I missed it somehow), before the referendum comes.
Will they become parking lots to replace the spots that have been lost? Or do they have other ideas in mind?
And sure they are up 38% parking spots due to angle parking, but they are still down overall with the loss of the big lot where the old greek restaurant used to be (where they are constructing the new UNBC lab building).
Where are people supposed to park when attending an event at the Civic Center? Festival of the Trees, Studio Fair, etc?
This is all a round about way to have the perfect land available for a PAC. The city manager wants a PAC through the back door if they have too.
the city is drunk on tax payer’s money. they want us to pay for new developments while they clearly need to pay for infrastructure upgrades as the city is constantly paying money to repair broken water mains that have exceeded their lifetime.
Am I the only one who sees the opportunity to have the Ghostbusters rent our old firehall once it is moved? Win win I say
Referendums are a poor representation of the city tax base, people are lazy. It should be a question on the bottom of the city taxes, which get paid and noticed at a much higher rate than an optional vote.
City taxes are 100% paid or you lose your house. Why does our city not have any progressive ideas anymore? Your idea would save us money in referendum costs and be just a few lines on next years tax bill. It might not be allowed under municipal laws but have they even explored any ways they can do this while saving us cash?
They haven’t even told us how much they are going to pay for the hotel and parking lot and its demolition to make the number smaller no doubt. We all have sucker stamped on our foreheads unfortunately
Brother Gecko asked me the following question regarding the response times of the proposed new fire hall as compared to the current one slated for replacement. He asks – “You have the studies to prove your statement about response times? Please share.” – Happy to share. I was born and raised in this city near the location of the the old fire hall (with 60 plus years of citizenship in this fine city) I could have wrote a report (free of charge by the way). Whoever did the study on response times between the two locations is just “hoodwinking” the tax payer so that they can get a new and shiny firehall. If we had the money on hand to replace the fire hall I say go to it. But to borrow money for something “we really don’t need” is just negligence on the part of city administration. The taxes and utilities in this city are getting too high for the average worker and pensioner. Likewise with the pool, we have a beautiful Aquatic Centre just up 15th avenue, on a good traffic day less then 10 minute drive. College Heights and west is where the action is these days, why not put the new pool there or as been mentioned two smaller pools for College Heights and Hart?
my 2 uncles still work in the old fire hall, and have zero complaints. Like they always joke about, if they are in the fire hall they aren’t doing their job.. their office is out in the community as first responders. Lots of them have 2 jobs, because there is a lot of downtime between shifts etc.
So yeah, its an old fire hall, but if you goto an old city NYC, even VAn.. lots of the halls are historic and 100+ years old.
Why is there a need for the new fire hall? That old building is doing the job. Why not build a new one in college heights, where it is most needed?
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