Councillor opposes grant application

A Lumby politician is concerned about too much burden being placed on taxpayers.

A Lumby politician is concerned about too much burden being placed on taxpayers.

Coun. Jo Anne Fisher voted Monday against applying for a $348,258 provincial grant for a proposed outdoor fitness circuit and water spray park in Oval Park.

“In fairness to taxpayers, we shouldn’t be adding other facilities until we can maintain what we have,” she said.

“We need to replace the roof on the village office. The pool needs a new liner and the arena always needs repairs.”

The total price tag for the projects would be  $435,322, with taxpayers contributing $57,064.  There could also be $30,000 from the Teddy’s Angels and Martin’s Devils ball teams and support from the Lumby Lions.

Parks staff have stated the work won’t proceed if the provincial money isn’t received, but Fisher points out that the grant is taxpayers’ dollars.

“It’s not free money,” she said.

Fisher is also concerned that treated water would be used in a spray park at the same time that residents are being encouraged to conserve water.

“What message are we sending to taxpayers?” she said.

“We expect them to pay for water meters and water but they can go down to the water park and do it for free.”

It’s anticipated that a water park would use about 9,000 cubic metres or 2,376,000 gallons of water per year.

Despite Fisher’s opposition, the rest of council supported applying for the grant.

“They are part of Lumby’s recreation master plan and the items fit with the government grant,” said Mayor Kevin Acton of the fitness equipment and spray park.

He added that there’s no guarantee the projects will occur.

“We’re just looking to see if the money is there.”

In terms of water use, Acton says the spray park would utilize the resource efficiently.

“It would be low flow and activated by children and we control the water rates,” he said of the village.