Need for arena sparks questions

Resident says there is a need to look at the burden on taxpayers

In response to Brennan Seltzer (New rink is a must have), I have several points to speak to.  I would like to say at the outset, that I am not completely against a new rink as I know we need one for the adults and children to use. But we must take into consideration the following.

First, he states that by building a new rink, we would see a slight increase in taxes. Well, we have got taken in before with a new water system at Duteau Creek and the new track at the college, with no idea of how many will use it.

Both of these have increased my taxes considerably, and we have to look at more water improvements, a new police station, the recreation complex will have to be replaced in five years even with the upgrades, a new museum and art gallery and the Priest Valley Gym is going to need upgrading soon.

The result is let’s pay off some of these debts before we look at taking on more. I am a senior citizen, as are a growing number of people in the area, on a fixed income. We are still managing to live in our own home for now, but with more taxes combined with increased costs in food and gas, we do not know for how long.

He also states that a new rink will make us a destination place for major and minor tournaments

Mr. Frater, he quotes, as also stating that we could host additional tournaments — instead of our usual eight teams we could attract 12 to 16-team tournaments.

To start with, we will be competing with Penticton, Salmon Arm and Kelowna. But these centres are already well established in attracting these events. To help us make our minds up, please sports clubs have solid tournaments that we could attract and the number of people, not contracts but just something in writing that will show that all parties are serious.

He also states that he expects the hotel parking lots to be full, restaurants to have increased visitation and families spending throughout the community. I personally know many workers in the hospitality industry and they say that with the past tournaments we have hosted, the promise of more business did not happen.

Many were given extra hours but because of low response, they were sent home early. All of the money that everyone says that comes into the area is true but it mostly goes to the big hotels and restaurants and this money usually leaves town. In the hotels I am told, they just make more work for the same number of employees. Kids do not eat and drink at the fancy restaurants but at fast food restaurants.

We must also wait for the next census to come out or have the government give us an accurate count of the number of children under the age of 16 that will use the new rink now and any projected increase or decrease in this population. At present, we are losing our younger residents as indicated by the number enrolling in school, so an accurate picture of our population is one of the most important pieces of information we will need to make a decision as it pertains to us personally.

Garry Haas

Vernon

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