Saturday , 4 July 2020

Town of Bonnyville Decides Projects for Major Funding Despite Conflict

Discussion on how the Town of Bonnyville should spend ID 349 and community grant funds flared up on Tuesday.

Council agreed to put forth pitches for 911 expansion, emergency services expansion, a fine arts theatre, an expansion of the hospital parking lots, and the cost to staff another ambulance to the regional affairs committee.

The Town will also press forward with the fine arts theatre during the first intake, in mid-August, of the Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Program (ICIP). The Town has plans to pursue funding for an aquatics centre during the second intake of applications in November.

But not without some conflict.

Mayor Gene Sobolewski and Councillor Chad Colbourne argued whether a new fine arts theatre or swimming pool should take priority.

The community gave their feedback in the recreational survey in May which showed that 54 per cent of the nearly 1,300 respondents were in favour of the pool, and 19.6 per cent for the Arts Centre. However, those funds were only in regards to the ICIP grant at the time.

Sobolewski says that a planning committees should form to decide what exactly the town wants with a new swimming pool. But he was not in favour of using ID 349 funds for a pool project, which other municipalities have say on.

“We have a perfectly good pool. If we make a motion, it’s priority that out of this regional opportunities we’re going to build a pool – what are we going to do? If I go in front of those guys, what am I going to tell them?” said Sobolewski.

Sobolewski pressed Colbourne on specifics about the pool, and Colbourne suggested an expansion to the C2, like the Grande Prairie Aquatics and Wellness Multiplex. But did not formalize that suggestion past the discussion stage.

“I cannot sit here after talking with constituent after constituent and young families in the town that has relatively not that much to do, so I am going to stick to the pool on my side,” said Colbourne.

That Grande Prairie facility has competition tanks a program swimming pool for a Surfing Simulator, a dive tank, water slides, hot tubs, sauna and a dinosaur play area for the kids. A $38 million project for that city.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.