Value is the issue
In your April 7 article about the Pemberton Community Centre, I believe the message that you portray is not accurate. The majority of the people who submitted counter petitions did not vote against the Community Centre project as you stated. They in fact supported the project, at least in concept, but felt that the costing and design warranted review. This message was presented clearly at the recent Community Centre public meeting, but was ignored. The only way to get this message to the politicians was to stop the borrowing bylaw from being adopted and the response by 20 per cent of the eligible voters was resounding.
In March of 2004, the SLRD was officially notified that they had received approval for a grant of $1.1 million towards a Community Centre. This grant, which was applied for in 2001, was based on a conceptual design and cost estimate for a basic structure, with a total project cost of $1.7 million. The project was to be funded from the grant money, Miller Creek trust fund money, and $480,000 of borrowed money. When the public next saw the project (at the recent public meeting) the project budget had more than doubled, to $3.6 million, and the amount to be borrowed had increased by more than five times, to $2.5 million.
Money is not the issue, value is. The originally proposed facility at $1.7 million was to be 10,000 sq. ft. The current proposed facility is 12,000 sq. ft. at $3.6 million and will be too small when completed. The existing community centre of 20,000+ sq. ft. is used virtually at capacity.
Contrary to statements made, infrastructure grants are frequently extended. Extensions were given on two recent SLRD projects with Infrastructure Grant funding Pemberton North Water System Improvements and Devine Water System Improvements. Facilities such as these are needed in a growing community. Lets not stop now. The community is listening.
A community without a centre
A community without a community centre is like a community without a heart.
Some history as I recall:
It was December 1980, almost 25 years ago, when the Pemberton Community Centre burnt down. The people from the top of the Pemberton Valley right through to Darcy rallied together. Over the years, financial contributions, countless hours of volunteer labour and the use of donated equipment were directed towards the effort to build a new community facility.
I, along with many others, were happy to contribute our time, equipment and dollars, because we recognize the value of a community facility. Im not sure of the exact figure the Pemberton Agriculture and Community Association (PACA) raised but I know it was well over $100,000. I cant help but wonder whatever became of these funds.