The grant application, for more than 2.4 million dollars, is now dead in the water and City Council is pointing the finger directly at the four northern Cariboo Regional District Directors.
Council expressed universal disappointment over what it perceived as a flip flop from a joint planning meeting to an e-mail vote.
Councillor Ron Paull…
“This is terribly disappointing, I thought that we had this sewn up at the last JPC meeting. Everybody in the room voted unanimously on this and it seems like they’ve done a complete reversal.”
The application, to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure fund, required the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee to guarantee its portion of the bill for the project which would have been 900 thousand dollars.
Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg…
“Basically what I heard is they’re waiting for 100 percent grants to pay for this, and we know that those grants are not out there readily available to every community. So while we sit back and wait for those opportunities costs are going to continue to incrementally grow each year. So the bottom line is are we really saving any money ? I don’t think so.”
Mayor Bob Simpson noted that the spirit of the decision didn’t change between the two votes, and he says the North Cariboo’s commitment could have been much less…
“The money is already in the North Cariboo Rec function and it would be earmarking that money so it would make up any difference that we wouldn’t get. It’s about 900 thousand dollars or so, we know that 300 thousand dollars we will get from Northern Development Initiative Trust for something like this, and we talked about a community fundraising campaign and other grant opportunities.”
Simpson says they would have had a minimum of 18 months to resolve the issue of their actual contribution.
Council decided against going it along, saying it didn’t want a repeat of what happened with the soccer complex.
Mayor Simpson explains…
“The CRD would not engage, the city decided to go ahead and for years city ratepayers paid for the facility and the Regional District ratepayers got to have the same access at the same fees to a city funded facility.”
Simpson says that continued for years until it became part of sub regional recreation last term.
Councillor Scott Elliott suggested that they meet with the gymnastics people to talk about fundraising to at least get the ball rolling, and he also suggested that they invite them to a future Joint Planning Committee meeting to talk about the future.
The plan is to build an addition of a gymnastics center to the Arts and Recreation Center in Quesnel.