Saltair taxpayers/voters in shock after CVRD board’s Nov. 29 decision

Many residents find it perplexing not to have a say in a referendum

Re: No CVRD Referendum for Saltair residents “to establish if they do or do not support taxpayers’ taxation and/or grant funds being spent on the restoration/renewal/repairs of the Saltair Community Centre (Former Mt. Brenton School)”

Director Mel Dorey and the CVRD Directors have denied the petition for a referendum from 628 Saltair residents that was presented to the Oct. 18 CVRD Directors and again to the CVRD Board on Nov. 8.

Saltair residents have been requesting a referendum for more than 3 1/2 years of Director Dorey and finally petitioned the CVRD for a referendum.

The Petition for a referendum is not for or against creating a community centre. It is a petition for a democratic say about spending tax and/or grants dollars on the old contaminated school building. It is also about looking at options.

All other CVRD residents have had a democratic say in their recreation facilities and funding of their facilities.

The CVRD Board has decided to spend $300,000 of Saltair funds on the old Saltair Community Centre building for the roof system replacement. There are no documents to justify this ‘emergency’ work. WorkSafeBC has not declared an emergency, the McCuaig engineering reports did not declare an emergency and even the Saltair Community Society has indicated minimal leaks.

The CVRD Board is failing to uphold its own CVRD Asset Management Policy when it comes to this CVRD asset. There are no CVRD Asset Management Long Term financial plans for the long term costs for this building and long term Saltair funds available. The gap is huge. The CVRD Board decision is astounding. We expect more from our elected representatives. We expect researched and thoughtful decisions.

The $300,000 would go a long way towards a newly constructed Saltair Community Centre of say $500,000.

New construction is cheaper than renewal/restoration/repairs on an old building. The majority of the components of this building have exceeded their life span and the additional costs for asbestos/mold abatement/removal/disposal by professionals turn this building into a Pandora’s Box.

Director Dorey and the CVRD Board have failed to consider a new purpose built Saltair Community Centre. A new facility that would be designed for the community’s needs, energy efficient and also used as a CVRD Emergency Shelter in the event of an earthquake. The cost of a new facility could be in the neighbourhood of $500,000. Far less than the long term restoration costs the existing building faces.

Director Dorey has failed to hold any Saltair public meetings to engage Saltair residents on the building and the funding of the building for more than 3 1/2 years. Saltair residents have never had a democratic say in the purchase of the building, loan we are paying for the purchase of the building and the new loan we will have to pay over five years for these repairs. Many Saltair residents remember June 10, 2014 when Director Dorey told them he didn’t need their approval to buy the property/building. This is just deja vu.

I would like to thank all those that have been part of the petition for a referendum. Over half of Saltair signing a petition shows the community is engaged and wanting a say at the CVRD level but it has been denied.

The CVRD Directors have shown twice they do not support holding a referendum on the Saltair Community Centre.

The CVRD meeting videos have recorded comments for all to hear. I suggest listening to Director Dorey’s comments to get a full understanding of what has gone on at the CVRD meetings and why the petition for a referendum has been denied.

Follow the conversation on the Saltair News & Views website

Best of the season to all Saltairians,

Lynne Smith


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