By Marcus Day
Tax increases? A special levy?
The mayor said Maple Creek may have to accept one of these options if it wanted a new swimming pool.
Michelle McKenzie underlined the challenges facing the Town of Maple Creek, if it decided to apply to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board to borrow money.
“We need to say how we are going to repay it. We have to have all those figures in order to figure out what we are doing.
“If we need to borrow $1.6 Million for a pool, how are we going to pay for it? The Municipal Board has to know. Are we putting on a special levy for $300 per person? Are we increasing taxes? We really need to think how we are going to do it.”
McKenzie said even at this stage one thing was clear — only an outdoor pool was feasible. The cost of an indoor pool was prohibitive.
She was speaking after Tuesday’s Town council meeting in which Coun. Cara Teichroeb put forward a motion that information be gathered on borrowing money for a new swimming pool.
“We have to find out what resources could be possible for the town,” Teichroeb said.
Her motion was carried. Council later heard the new Maple Creek Swimming Pool Committee held its inaugural meeting on Aug. 5.
Committee members are McKenzie, Councillors Teichroeb and Jill Roy, and teacher Corrie Scott, licensed practical nurse Jamie Packard, and Ashley Nash, manager of the acute care services at the hospital.
Coun. Roy said the meeting had been a useful, getting-to-know-you session.
McKenzie told the News-Times the meeting had proved very productive, resulting in a public appeal for ideas on what the new pool should look like (see story above). These ideas would be considered at the next committee meeting on Aug. 17.
“Right now, we need to do the investigation part of what it’s going to
cost to borrow. “How we are going to finance and pay that? Everybody wants a pool, but how much will it cost to run the pool?”
McKenzie said the community already faced major financial challenges. For instance, the Town had to figure out how it was going to pay $2 Million for the lagoon project. It also had to address the problem of ageing infrastructure.
Meanwhile, residents and businesses were struggling to pay taxes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can’t get blood from stone,” McKenzie said, adding “Everything costs money to make and to build and to repair.”
McKenzie said the community needed to ask whether a pool was a priority.
“Yes on hot days in the summer the pool would be nice, but is it an absolute necessity to survive?”
McKenzie praised the efforts of the swimming pool fundraising group, which had launched an online auction.
“They are doing great,” she said. “They have a year’s worth of fundraising plans.
“Next weekend they are organizing a bottle drive.
“What we need to do is set a goal of where the fundraising has to be before we look at building a pool.”