From Lemon to Lemonade- Saltair Centre Saga

LEMON:  The Mt. Brenton School was sold by the Cowichan Valley School District #79 for $650,000 to  a private entity after it had been a public asset for 50 years.

LEMONADE:  Ten years elapsed since the sale.  The buyers knew the problems of P1 institutional zoned property. The property was put on sale as part of a quick estate sale for $495,000 and eventually bought by the CVRD for $300,000

LEMON: Fear of buying an old building was induced after two attendees at a public meeting told horror stories about the Port Alberni Senior Secondary School and the Bank of Nanaimo.  The possible millions to tear down asbestos-loaded buildings (which the school was not) caused angst.

LEMONADE: This triggered studies for asbestos, air quality and water quality, which was a good thing so that we could be aware of the building status.

LEMON: The residents did not know how to evaluate the numbers and interpret what the studies actually meant to the status of the building.

LEMONADE: Interpretation by CVRD staff of the reports concluded that simple remediation and precaution could eliminate the dangers.

LEMON: A dispute developed between initial Saltair Society board members on whether to form a commission under the CVRD, like the Parks Commission, or form a non-profit society independent of the CVRD with less taxation.

LEMONADE: The Society board was cut in half and became a cohesive and directed effort to move forward with a society and operate the building as a community centre.

LEMON: Gas tax money was controlled by CVRD staff for CVRD directed projects.

LEMONADE:  A move was made to the control of gas tax money to Electoral Areas, which allowed gas tax to be used on the Saltair Centre as $130,000 for upgrades and $256,000 for the water system upgrades.

LEMON: An engineering report was done to see what would need to be done to bring the Centre up to standard.  Protestors created a petition and went door -to-door saying that it would cost $3 million to bring the Centre up to standard.  Not so,

LEMONADE:  The Society got their own estimates as to what would  need to be spent to fix the building.  The cost of the roof, the furnaces and gym renovations were seen to be much less than the engineering report, thus no rise in taxes necessary.

LEMON: A resident filed a complaint with WorkSafeBC about a leaking roof.

LEMONADE:  This changed the status of the building from a planned renovation to an emergency.  This forced the Society to do the upgrades now.

LEMON:   The CVRD was forced to honour their lease with the Society by keeping the building in safe condition.  The Society was also forced to honour their agreement with the ILM daycare. About 60 children and nine daycare staff depend on it.  Art groups have also made investments in the building as well.

LEMONADE:  The CVRD needed to speed up the upgrades. The current budget, with no rise in taxation, will allow the upgrades to proceed because the building will be paid off.  Time actually helped fix the money problem.  The $130,000 gas tax along with $31,000 reserve and a small loan will allow this to happen now.

Submitted by Area G Saltair Director Mel Dorey

UPDATE: Electoral Area Directors Regular Board Committee meeting was held November 29th, 2017 and the following resolution was approved:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 1:30 PM Regular Board Meeting
  At the direction of the Chair, the agenda was varied by moving up Item SR1 due to the number of public in attendance for this item.
SR1 Staff Report from the Parks & Trails Division Re: Replacement of the Saltair Community Centre Roof System


17-472 It was moved and seconded:

1.         That emergency capital replacement of the roofing system and           interior repairs at the Saltair Community Centre be approved, with       estimated costs not to exceed $300,000 funded first by $130,000             Community Works Gas Tax, $33,000 from Operating Reserves with        the remainder funded through a maximum of $137,000 in Short      Term Borrowing;

2.         That a maximum of $137,000 in short term borrowing for the    emergency replacement of the roofing system and interior repairs at the Saltair Community Centre be approved, and that the loan be             paid back over five years pursuant to Liabilities under Agreements          Section 175 of the Community Charter; and

3.         That a contract be awarded to Top Line Roofing Ltd. in the amount    of $154,649 (excluding taxes) for emergency replacement of the       roof system on the Saltair Community Centre based on their quote received dated November 7, 2017.


Opposed: Director L. Iannidinardo
            MOTION CARRIED




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