Open letter to the Town of Pincher Creek Council:
I am writing this letter to express my concerns with the decision to move forward with the proposed curling arena.
I have serious concerns with the bylaw that is being given first reading on Feb. 27, 2023, which will give the Town of Pincher Creek the ability to borrow $4 million for this project.
As I understand, the project has no dollar amount attached to it, if this is available it’s your obligation to inform the community of the price tag.
Who will be the partners in this? The MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 has not announced if they have any intention of supporting this project.
When the council agreed to support this project “in principle,” the Pincher Creek Curling Club was to be a partner in this, however there is no disclosure as to this amount. A traditional P3 partnership would suggest they are responsible for 1/3 of the cost, is this the case?
I understand there is a grant that the Town is looking to apply for to cover some of the cost. This requires that this bylaw needs to be approved prior to the grant deadline of Feb. 28 (please correct me if this date is wrong). This means the bylaw needs to receive three readings and be passed at this one meeting, with no public consultations.
Planning for grant funding either provincially or federally is an unknown, as monies received from grants rarely achieve the full amount asked for.
While I understand the reasoning of attaching it to an existing recreation facility, attaching it to one that is going to need upgrades in the future is questionable.
Moving it out of the downtown is irresponsible and damaging to the businesses on Main Street that are already struggling due to the rising costs of operating a small business.
By removing the building from Main Street, it will leave another significant empty lot in the downtown.
I believe a parking lot is to be built on this spot to address the parking issue on Main Street. Other than in the winter and during peak times for the arena and the Multi-Purpose Facility (pool), a proposed parking lot will not be a useful place for anyone as it is a significant distance from most of the businesses.
Is the town purchasing the land from the curling club?
If it is, where will the funds come from?
If so, who is responsible for the demolition of the current building?
Will the town also be responsible? If so, how will we pay for this?
Will the proceeds go to the curling club or towards the new facility?
The Pincher Creek Regional Recreation Master Plan shows the curling club tied for third.
First for priorities is trail system expansion and enhancement.
This “will encourage people to get outside and live a healthy, active lifestyle as well promote active transportation,” page 10. Not only would it be beneficial to all ages and abilities it is an activity that is free for everyone at a minimal investment to the community.
Second was the Memorial Community Centre Arena upgrades. This facility can and is used at any age and is part of a sustainable and growing sport.
Is curling? If so, please provide how many members the curling club has, and the demographics. What is the overall growth in this sport? Not just the sturling club.
My last point, and one that affects every individual in Canada, Alberta and Pincher Creek, is housing.
The town has completed housing studies over the last 15 to 20 years. Continually these studies have shown that housing is a critical part of the community.
The Town of Pincher Creek has done nothing in supporting this crisis.
I task every member of council to try and find a safe, affordable home in this town, as a family or even a single person. Housing is skyrocketing. Many families spend half their income on rent and utilities, often feeding the family is becoming a challenge.
What are you going to tell these families? Sorry, we needed a curing club that serves one to three per cent of the population?
How about taking the money and addressing this issue? There have been many discussions over building affordable homes for people in need. The Town of Pincher Creek can take any of the land they own and develop it for this use, not sell land to developers who build executive condos for a few.
When you took your oath of office it was to serve the citizens of Pincher Creek, not for personal agendas.
Although not in the strictest definition of conflict of interest, I believe that members of this council have forgotten why they are there and who they serve.
It’s time to look at why you are sitting in the position of responsibility and service, and decide if you are there for yourself or there to make a difference for the future of this beautiful community.
Shootin’ the Breeze welcomes submissions about local issues and activities. Personal views expressed in Mailbox articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect views of Shootin’ the Breeze management and staff.
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