Referendum Likely for Firehall and Four Seasons Replacement Projects
Prince George, B.C. – Two major projects on the Capital Plan could see a referendum held before either can move forward.The City has selected a site for a new Fire hall #1 , on property east of the YMCA on Massey Drive.
Mayor Lyn Hall says there has been a great deal of discussion about Fire Hall #1 because it doesn’t provide adequate coverage for the community. The location would improve access to industrial development on the south side of the City “That’s a key piece for me, that’s about safety” said Mayor Hall.
The estimated cost of replacement is $15 million dollars and the full cost would be covered by debt.
Then there is the issue of the Four Season’s Pool. The cost of replacing that pool has been estimated at $35 million dollars, again the full cost of the project would be covered by debt.
Council has approved both projects in the Capital plan, but neither can move forward until eligible voters have had their say on whether or not the City can borrow the money.
Here is how borrowing the full amount for both pojects would impact the average home owner:
Because the length of the terms for the loans , the City requires approval either through the alternate approval process or a referendum.
Council seems to be leaning towards holding a referendum to ask the taxpayers if they would support carrying the debt for the two projects.
“The reason I am supporting going to a referendum is that it is in keeping with the direction of this Council when it comes to community consultation and TalkTober” said Councillor Garth Frizzell.
Council has approved the legislative Services budget for 2017 which was increased by $100 thousand dollars to cover the costs of a referendum should Council decide to take that route in order to move forward with both projects. If a vote is to be held, it wouldn’t likely take place until late 2017, as plans and detailed budgets would need to be developed in order to present a bylaw that would lay out the specific amount to be borrowed.