Vote yes to borrowing

Mayor Gerry Taft weighs in on an issue that will soon be decided by referendum

 

Dear Editor,

The Lake Windermere Memorial Hall (often referred to as Invermere Community Hall) was built by volunteers in 1948 as a legacy for the community and as a memorial for local veterans lost in the World Wars. The facility has served Invermere and the valley well for the last 69 years. The facility and attached space is presently the permanent home to the youth centre, judo club, karate club, various dance programs, kick boxing, and is used extensively and regularly for other activities such as indoor winter walking for seniors, moms and tots, youth air riffle, Invermere

Firemen’s ball, Big Band Dance, Curling Bonspiel banquet and countless other activities.

The current hall has serious structural deficiencies. The roof system is showing significant signs of deflection, and because of safety concerns and fear of the roof collapsing, the facility will be immediately closed if there’s a high snowfall event.

The floor structure is also failing, and the official capacity for the building has been decreased. The building is also heated by an ancient boiler system, which is near the end of its life.  To upgrade the building to modern safety standards, without increasing size or dramatically improving aesthetics, will cost anywhere from one to two million dollars.

The current District of Invermere (DOI) council believes that putting more money into a failing building structure is not the right decision. Council has re-opened a debate and discussion that has been on-going since at least 1999, and is asking the community to consider borrowing up to $5.6 million over 30 years.

The facility would expand the size of the main hall allowing larger events to occur, and would also include separate multi-purpose rooms which would provide space to user groups using the existing facility, as well as new users.

This new facility would be constructed where the old DTSS high school and current school bus garage is located (property owned by the DOI).

The DOI has received conditional support from the Regional District of East Kootenay to help fund the multi-purpose rooms in recognition of the valley wide use and services this space and facility would offer.

DOI council has opted to not include the existing community hall site as part of the financial or decision making picture of the new facility. When the new facility is constructed and finished, the old hall will be demolished.

Council has decided to see whether the community is willing to pay for a new facility before we invest anymore time or money in consultation and detailed design of a new facility.

Some important questions to consider when casting your vote on Saturday, November 2nd are: Do we want to look at the old high school site for the next twenty years? Do we want to put money into the old community hall site?  Do we want to risk a roof collapsing on a community group?

Do we want to continue to debate and consult and take no action for the next fifteen to twenty years?

For an annual cost to each parcel of land in Invermere of $116 (less then $10 per month per house), the question is:  can we afford not to seize this opportunity?

Please vote “yes”to action on Saturday, November 2nd and help us to invest in our community and in our future.

 

 

Gerry Taft

 

Mayor if Invermere

 

 

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