Tax increase proposed to meet Lake Country facility maintenance gap

Tax increase proposed to meet Lake Country facility maintenance gap

A draft of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan proposes tax increases

The District of Lake Country needs to put more money away to maintain its facilities, says the district director of infrastructure.

“We haven’t put enough money into our renewal, of like our ice rink and some of these buildings, so we need to close this funding gap,” said Greg Buchholz, director of infrastructure.

“(For) all of our community buildings, we really haven’t been putting enough money away, you know, if we need to fix the roof and so on… so that’s something we have to address.”

To generate additional revenues, a plan to increase taxes has been proposed in the draft Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

The district is short roughly $500,000 so a 4.5 per cent tax increase is proposed to close the funding gap.

“We’re suggesting in the plan to do 1.5 per cent for a three-year period after the time we’ve completed our cost increases for our Transportation for Tomorrow,” said Buchholz.

The tax increase would start in 2020, according to the draft master plan.

“Adding new things, like a swimming pool, well we need to make sure we take care of things we already own before we take on new assets as well,” he said.

Through consultation, the district has outlined the top wants and needs from the public which include: an indoor pool and fitness facility, increased variety in facilities, an integrated recreation centre, a second sheet of ice, more and improved furniture and equipment at facilities, provide more gathering/meeting space for small groups, provide more drop-in programs for children and youth art facilities and improved accessibility, health and fire safety, said the plan.

A proposed study for $50,000 would look at the feasibility of a pool in Lake Country as well as a second sheet of ice, said Buchholz.

But a $20 million pool would cost roughly $400 per household each year until the pool is paid for, he said. A second ice sheet costing $10 million would cost each household about $200 per year.

The location of a new off-leash dog park has also not been outlined in the plan. Currently, the district has one off-leash dog park at Coral Beach North and a temporary off-leash dog park at Woodsdale Packinghouse Park.

Work is already being conducted at the Oyama Isthmus, said Buchholz, so the district is looking at placing a dog run in that location.

Other proposed locations for the park include Pelmewash Park, Coral Beach South, Okanagan Centre Shoreline North and Okanagan Centre Shoreline South.

Residents can access the draft plan and provide feedback through the District of Lake Country’s website.

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