Is there a way that all clubs in Rossland can use the city’s subsidy for the Trail Aquatic Centre? Coun. Kathy Moore thinks so.
At the moment, there is $20,000 a year put aside to subsidize swim and leisure clubs from Rossland who use the regional facility. It covers some of the difference that Rosslanders pay given that it does not have an agreement with the City of Trail.
Moore thinks the subsidy can be expanded to include all clubs from Rossland. She also asked that council consider an increase to the amount put into that fund, to bring it up to $35,000. Moore was originally after ways to expand the city’s existing policies and the report they got back from staff had a lot of interesting information.
“I think we have an opportunity here to meet the needs of our citizens without going back through a big long negotiation with Trail,” Moore said, adding that Trail and Rossland were far apart on what they considered a fair deal. “I think this other way of expanding our existing policy would work really well.”
After pressing some other questions Moore found out some good news, that there is no problem with the city expanding the program as a grant in aid to the citizens of Rossland.
Moore had discussed the report and how the program is currently set up with the Inspector of Municipalities office, who said both the current set up and the proposed expansion of the project is fine with them.
“There’s nothing that we’re doing that would upset them in any way,” she said.
Moore referred the current policy back to staff with revisions that expand the eligibility of the grant to Rossland residents who are members of clubs or societies.
Right now there are only three groups that are eligible and there is also a requirement for the group to have been around for two years.
Coun. Jill Spearn said she was hoping that council could find solutions for the people who use the Trail Aquatic Centre.
“This is a win-win situation,” she said, adding that it’s a difficult question, because according to a recent survey, Rossland citizens only want use of the Trail centre during the months that Rossland’s own pool is closed.
“As long as it’s a reasonable amount of money for the citizens of Rossland overall, then I’m in favour of it, so I’m happy to see this, but at the same time, we will need to deliberate once that comes back.”
Spearn suggested a plebiscite vote to get more information on what the community actually wants.
Mayor Greg Granstrom agreed.
“Perhaps it’s time to ask the question to the public and see what they want, beacaue these just causes or could cause additional, “here we go agains,” Granstrom said.
Wallace was also in favour of the plebiscite idea.
“I think we need that information from a plebiscite, this matter’s been going around the community for a few years,” Wallace said, adding that she knows that the both the people who use the centre and the people who don’t want to pay for it feel strongly about the subject.
She said it would be nice to have an understanding of how many people this impacts and on which side of the issue does more of the community agree with.
“I think it would be great to get some hard numbers,” Coun. Tim Thatcher said. “Some people want to pay, some people don’t want to pay, we need some firm numbers to get a decision.”
Coun. Cary Fisher said it is about looking at it from a broader perspective and realizing that the people of Rossland are part of a bigger community.
Council voted to have the motion referred to staff, as well as a plebiscite to survey residents on the aquatic issue.