The City of Cold Lake Council is currently planning for a new aquatic centre and the Mayor says it’s important to residents because recreation is a vital part of the community.
Recently the City of Cold Lake Council passed its 2022 Capital Budget and 2022 Operating Budget, which enables them to maintain services while supplementing supports for vulnerable people, allocating resources to crime prevention and policing, and maintaining a foundation for economic diversification and growth.
The budgets were passed with a total of $70.5 million in expenditures. The 2022 Operating Budget was passed at just under $52.9 million, inclusive of a transfer to the capital budget of just over $6.9 million. The 2022 Capital Budget stands at just under $24.6 million. This included a municipal tax increase of 3.2 per cent, inclusive of an operating reserve to assist with future operating costs of an aquatic centre.
“So what we’re doing is a percentage of that tax increase is going to go to an operating reserve dedicated for an aquatic facility, and we’re going to need a lot of money to operate a pool,” Mayor Craig Copeland of the City of Cold Lake told Lakeland Connect.
Mayor Copeland says instead of hitting the residents pocketbooks all at once for the centre, let’s say six years from now, the idea is to build it slowly and put money away in a reserve because it’s probably going to cost anywhere $1.4 to $2 million a year to operate.
“Council is committed to the vision,” Mayor Copeland said. “Recreation is what brings families and makes them want to stay.”
During the budget “Council took a cautious, measured approach that will maintain services, provide for extra resources where the community told us they wanted them and will avoid larger tax increases in the future,” Mayor Copeland says.
About one per cent of the municipal tax increase is associated with the operating reserve to establish a fund for the development of an aquatic centre.
“The community has told us loud and clear for a long time that they want the city to build an aquatic centre at the Energy Centre, and these come at a significant operational cost,” Mayor Copeland said. “While we work on the design for the facility we will start to slowly anticipate its operating cost and build that into the budget over time. This will ensure that the new facility does not come with a sudden and significant increase when it opens.”
Mayor Copeland says, “Council and administration over the years has tried to invest in a wide range of recreation infrastructure so that we can provide the foundation of quality living for Cold Lake and area residents.”
“Having quality recreation assets not only in the City but in the MD Bonnyville (ie ski hill/campground) will attract people to work for our business community also attract health providers to want to make roots in our City,” Mayor Copeland said. “We have a beautiful lake and adding to a great educational system the recreation is all part of making our area a wonderful place to want to live.”