The District of Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C sent portions of the programming service agreement with the City of Vernon to better explain how costs were split with community amenities such as the Aquatic Centre. (Submitted photo)

Coldstream officials clear air about pool costs

Municipalities seeks to clarify who pays what to cover additional lifeguarding hours

Vernon councillors voiced their displeasure Monday, Feb. 24, upon learning the Vernon Aquatic Centre’s pool hours and fees would be affected after its neighbouring governments didn’t “pony up,” as Coun. Scott Anderson said.

But the District of Coldstream and two electoral area’s agreement shows the city could have prevented the changes.

The Greater Vernon Recreation service agreement, penned in 2014, allows the City of Vernon to fund operating shortfalls, such as lifeguarding costs, through its reserves funds, but the city said its requirement for a balanced budget at the year’s start was priority.

“With this, the city didn’t feel it was prudent to rely on reserves for an ongoing operational cost such as increased lifeguarding hours,” a statement from the city read.

Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C contribute more than $1.1 million to recreation facilities through its service agreement with the City of Vernon, according to a report.

But after learning of the new requirements for an estimated 1,300 additional lifeguarding hours, the RDNO was presented with a request for $13,601 over and above its contributions in December 2019. The request was denied, the district’s report reads, as there was no desire to reopen the agreement for operational issues.

“Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C instead confirmed the City of Vernon’s role in decision-making regarding recreation issues,” the report reads.

Once presented the requested changes, Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick and electoral area directors Bob Fleming (Area B) and Amanda Shatzko (Area C) asked Vernon’s recreation services to confirm the level of operating reserves and further suggested the additional costs be covered by that.

After the 2013-14 restructure, more than $6 million was transferred to the City of Vernon, the RDNO report reads. Nearly half of that went toward the Recreation Facility and Programs Reserve Fund.

The additional lifeguarding is estimated to require an additional 1,300 hours each year, costing an estimated $43,000 more than what was budgeted for the operation of the aquatic centre in 2020.

Each partner was asked to support its proportional share of the $43,000 needed for the additional lifeguarding hours: $6,801 for Coldstream, $3,400 each for Areas B & C and $29,444 for the City of Vernon.

To alter the agreement, a unanimous vote is required and while the city “respects the decision of its partners to not open the agreement, recreation services was then required to find other means to fund or resource the additional lifeguarding hours,” the city’s statement reads.

READ MORE: Hours cut at Vernon pool

“In order to fund this shortfall responsibly, we advised against a drastic reduction of operating hours or a significant fee increase,” recreation services director Doug Ross said. “Instead, recreation services recommended a balanced approach by reducing limited operating hours and instituting a moderate fee increase.”

The adjusted hours will save around $23,000 in operational savings, while the four per cent increase in fees will cover the remaining $20,000 required.

The new fees are expected to take effect April 1, and changes to pool hours will begin March 2.

“While this is extremely unfortunate, individuals identified as being financially disadvantaged through our Affordable Access Pass program can still receive a 75 per cent discount when attending the normal public swim times,” Ross said.

READ MORE: Vernon man rolls out wheelchair shuttle business

READ MORE: Stray Vernon cat suffers extreme malnutrition


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Municipal Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second million-dollar lotto ticket sold in Vernon

Same thing happened on March 7; somebody won Guaranteed Match Number prize

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

WATCH: Coldstream producer treats neighbours to live music from safe distance

Neighbours practiced social distancing as Jeff Johnson played songs from his front steps

Sparkling Hill Resort donates produce to Vernon food bank, gloves to hospital

Operating manager says layoffs resulted in spare materials that are much needed amid COVID-19

Vernon woman baking for those in need amid COVID-19

Crystal Hedlund launched a GoFundMe page to generate funds for baking materials

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

No hesitation; two bystanders assist in South Okanagan house fire rescue

“I’d do it for anybody,” says Penticton man after assisting in house fire rescue

Summerland churches go online during COVID-19 pandemic

Livestream services, online support provided to congregations and community

Fur Brigade Trail was transportation route in Okanagan Valley

Transportation corridor passed through Nicola Prairie, now Summerland

RCMP, firefighters rally in support for health care workers in Kelowna

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters Saturday night

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

Most Read