City of Duncan Suggests Usage Based Cost Sharing for Cowichan Aquatic Centre
The City of Duncan is very pleased to learn that Director Loren Duncan, representing Cowichan-Station-Sahtlam-Glenora, has expressed interest in contributing tax dollars to the operations of the Cowichan Aquatic Centre (CAC).
This is an unexpected and welcomed turnabout from Director Duncan’s previous stance on two-tier fees. Duncan Council applauds this effort on behalf of Director Duncan to be part of the solution.
Duncan Council’s decision to accept an extremely discounted contribution to the CAC by South Cowichan taxpayers was based in large part on the concept of user pay which Director Duncan has favoured in the past.
“Based on recent statistics, South Cowichan residents represent approximately 10.8% of CAC users. Based on this usage, South Cowichan taxpayers would contribute $159,104 annually; however, Duncan and North Cowichan Councils accepted a $100,000 annual contribution from South Cowichan Taxpayers (representing a 37% discount) in the interest of eliminating two-tier fees” Mayor Kent noted.
It should be noted that these costs do not consider any contribution toward the debt payments resulting from the costs to construct the CAC in 2008.
The City of Duncan was able to see the benefit of the South Cowichan offer in moving towards usage-based Regional Recreation funding mechanisms.
Due to their closer proximity to the CAC, the usage by Area “E” residents is proportionately higher than that of South Cowichan Taxpayers. Even with only one fifth the population of the South Cowichan area, Area “E” residents represent approximately 5.3% percent of CAC users. This high usage is in spite of two-tier pricing being currently in place.
“Based on Area “E”s proportional usage of 5.3% of CAC users, and offering the same 37% discount, City Council would welcome an arrangement that sees Area “E” taxpayers contributing a proportional $49,074 towards the CAC. Our expectation would be that after a certain time period, with no two-tier system in place, usage statistics should be updated, and contributions adjusted” offered Mayor Kent.
Based on a $49,074 contribution from Area “E”, the following estimated amounts would be paid per $100,000 of assessment.
|South Cowichan Residents||$2.67|
|Area “E” Residents||$6.93|
Currently, City Residents contribute $24.21 per $100,000 of assessment annually towards operating the CAC. Additional amounts fund the debt payments. The City’s proposal to accept a proportional $49,074 contribution by Area “E” towards the CAC would still be a significantly discounted amount, and would be conditional on future adjustments based on updated usage statistics. The City looks forward to discussing this proposal with its partner, North Cowichan, as well as proposals for the inclusion of other non contributing areas, which would result in the complete elimination
of the two-tier system.
City Council encourages Director Duncan to take this amount of contribution to his constituents for approval, after which Duncan Council would support lifting the two-tier system. If Director Duncan is able to contribute from the Area “E” Grant-In-Aid budget without waiting for his constituents’ approval, then City Council would support lifting the two-tier funding immediately as was done for South Cowichan Residents.
Ideally, City Council would like to see Area “E”, our immediate neighbours to the South and West, become full contributing partners in the CAC, given their high participation level and close proximity to the CAC. However, it is recognized that this may have to wait until the full realization of Regional Recreation.
City Council would like to thank the patience of all residents of the Cowichan Valley while their political representatives work on moving toward a Regional Recreation funding model.