“The cost sharing is information we need as soon as possible. If the district believes it’s a model that is not working, we have to consider our way forward. Right now, I support our shared services and it has served our two communities well and I look forward to hearing their views.” Pam Bookham
By Gagandeep Ghuman
The City of North Vancouver councillors recently found themselves in the deep waters of the yet-to-be built 50-metre pool at the planned Harry Jerome Recreation Centre.
While the plans for the new Harry Jerome Centre include a 50-metre pool, it’s not yet clear if the city’s recreation partner—District of North Vancouver—will pitch with their share of the operating costs.
If the DNV refuses to commit to the ongoing operating costs as they have said, a swim in the pool may not prove to be a refreshing option for CNV taxpayers for the cost to operate the pool would be $1.2 million.
“We need to nail it down and we should make it a high priority because the operating cost for the pool is a significant number,” said Mayor Darrell Mussatto. Tax payers might be wondering why these decisions were not finalised before the plans for the 50-metre pool were announced.
The proverbial cart showed up before the horse in the council chambers recently when the City of North Vancouver council brought forward a motion asking staff to now find out, and as soon as possible, if DNV would share the operating costs for the new Harry Jerome Recreation Centre. The urgency in the Mayor’s words should be seen in the context of a six-year old motion by the District of North Vancouver.
In 2012, the district indicated an unwillingness to share the operating costs of the 50-metre pool in the planned Harry Jerome Centre, even though the city and the district have an agreement to share such costs on the basis of usage numbers.
The District of North Vancouver has recently built a new Delbrook Community Centre but the city staff couldn’t tell the council with any clarity if the operating costs were being shared or not on that centre.
So, clarity with urgency was what councillors called for as they faced the question of burdening the city tax payers with $1.2 million. “If they are not thinking of cost sharing, we need to find out rather sooner than later, and figure out where we stand, “said Councillor Holly Back.
Councillor Pam Bookham said not having district support on cost sharing raises the possibility of citizens having to buy two different memberships. “The cost sharing is information we need as soon as possible. If the district believes it’s a model that is not working, we have to consider our way forward. Right now, I support our shared services and it has served our two communities well and I look forward to hearing their views,” she said.
Councillor Craig Keating said tax payers could be on the hook for millions of dollars going forward if the funding formulas are not agreed upon. “It’s essential we have the 50-50 funding arrangement. Annually, it’s $1.2 million dollars, and I don’t want to see it left on CNV tax payers place,” he said.
Councillor Rod Clark said this disagreement puts the whole concept of a shared recreation commission agreement at risk.
“We have to deal with the district, and they have indicated they won’t be sharing the operating costs based on all other recreation use. If that is indeed the case, then the recreation common or the recreation commission agreement is at risk, and we have to reevaluate how we do business with respect to recreation in the city and district. That would be very bad thing.”