It's time to drown two-tier pool fees at the aquatic centre

John Koury said he has a plan that will keep the fair funding formula issue alive between local governments but not on the backs and further expense of North Cowichan residents.

“Revenues are way down as a direct result of the failed 2-tier fee structure.  We need to lower the reliance on taxpayers to cover the operating costs of the pool by increasing revenues through higher use.

Kids in North Cowichan are missing out on swimming lessons because kids from CVRD are not signing up to fill the programs, which then get cancelled. People in the Cowichan Valley are going to Nanaimo and Victoria for swimming. It’s ridiculous.” Councillor, Koury said after reviewing financials at the Administration and Finance Committee meeting held yesterday at municipal hall.

“I have said publically, I’m not confident that a fair funding formula will be reached with the CVRD anytime soon given the entrenched views at the table.

The first thing we need to do is end the 2-tier fee structure, but continue to track users from outlying areas.  This move will generate more revenue with increased users, better offset the cost of operating, allow North Cowichan kids and seniors consistent access to programs, and will end the administrative and moral problems with staff.

Secondly, with user statistics in hand, every 3 months North Cowichan should simply invoice the CVRD its portion of operating and debt servicing costs in relation to its percentage of use.  This will end the burden for the public and put the issue in the hands of the politicians and bureaucrats where it belongs.

I admit this is not a long-term solution; the CVRD will eventually pay into a fair recreation-funding model or pay its bill to North Cowichan directly.  Hopefully the former will come true sooner than later. In the meantime, we need to ramp up revenues for the pool and give residents a reason to shop locally.”  Councillor Koury said.

— submitted by North Cowichan candidate John Koury

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