After a 10-month delay, on Wednesday, May 4th, CVRD Staff presented a revised Saltair Centennial Park Revitalization Plan to the CVRD Electoral Services Committee (see Item R12 on the Agenda). The Plan was presented with a Staff Report, a Staff Recommendation, the 2018-2019 Community Engagement Results, and the 2021 Community Engagement Results.
Based on the 2021 community engagement, the Staff Recommendation assumes there is public approval for a $4 per $100,000 of property value taxation increase, generating about $30,000 per year of tax revenue, for the associated capital costs (pp.8-9 of the Recommendation). Accordingly, Staff has recommended spreading the improvements out over a 10-year period using $30,000 per year to pay for the changes incrementally (table on p.11 of the Recommendation).
The finding Saltair residents supported a taxation increase of $4/$100,000 at least circumstantially appears to lack integrity. The Recommendation consolidates the 2018-2019 Community Engagement Results with the 2021 Community Engagement Results for the purpose of ranking the New Park Amenities (see table on p.7 of the Recommendation) but does not do this with respect to evaluating public support for the taxation increase (see 2nd full para. on p.10 of the Recommendations).
Thanks to CVRD Director Lynne Smith, who raised two motions for further review, the Plan will now go to the Saltair Parks Advisory Committee for input and to an in-person, public meeting. During the May 4th EASC meeting, Brian Farquhar, Manager Parks & Trails, said the public meeting would not be held until the fall.
Costs in the Recommendation are based on 2021 estimates. This suggests $30,000 might not cover the cost of the Forest Loop Trail Upgrade scheduled to take place this year, let alone cover the cost of projects scheduled five to 10 years in the future. Moreover, as one resident immediately suggested, the Community will not likely want to wait up to 10 years for results after approving a $4 per $100,000 taxation increase.
Would it be better to move some of the projects forward and have them done in one or two phases on a consolidated basis (e.g., court resurfacing and construction) to realize economies of scale and avoid inflated costs using a loan paid over five years or longer? Is removing the Off-leash Dog Park from the immediate Plan (see Item 4 on p.8 of the Recommendation) really what we want? Are the 2018-2019 Community Engagement Results relevant after two years of COVID and the apparently changed expectation about a taxation increase?
The Plan, Recommendations, and Engagement Results will soon be discussed by the Saltair Parks Commission. In the meantime, what do you think?
We attach an informal survey about some of the immediate questions that come to mind. Please take a moment to complete it.