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LETTER – Outdoor skating rink is a nice-to-have frill that should be postponed

Water park is in need of replacement, City staff say. The plan is to replace it with a new water park for summer that can be converted to an outdoor skating rink in winter.

Re: Editorial, ‘Outdoor skating rink is a great ideal pandemic or not’

Bad Timing…

I cannot support any frills in these uncertain times. To some, this project may seem very important, but it is a ‘nice to have’ not a ‘need’, at this time. We have no idea what the coming financial recession will look like, or what the final debt loads will be, at all levels of government, due this global pandemic. At this moment in time, we have no idea what the extent of this current unprecedented crisis will bring to our way of life, in the near future and for the long term.

I believe it is financially irresponsible to approve any ‘nice to haves’ in this critical time. We need to be focusing on maintaining our services levels and only doing the ‘need to haves’, not approving a funding application to satisfy a special interest group’s lobbying efforts for an outdoor skating rink.

This  $5.7 million ‘nice to have’ includes one-time expense of $1.5 million of our money, along with a estimated $120,000/year taxpayer increase for operating expenses for those special 16 weeks per year it will be operating.

We need to constrain our spending, until we have a clearer picture. Whether money is coming from Feds, Province, gaming funds or resident taxpayers, now is not the time. We need to realize there are many pots of funding, but there is really only one taxpayer.

Whether I am in favour of an outdoor skating rink in Riverside Park is not the issue.

The more important issue is, why now, with so much financial uncertainty.  This project is certainly not a priority and could be revisited in 3-5 years. Our main priorities, at this time, should be caution and fiscal responsibility.
DENIS WALSH
City Councillor
About Mel Rothenburger (7704 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on LETTER – Outdoor skating rink is a nice-to-have frill that should be postponed

  1. Garry Davies // August 18, 2020 at 10:55 AM // Reply

    It appears that majority of Kamloops City Council does not understand that it does not depend on, which bag of money they draw from it is still taxpayers money.

    During these uncertain times, the public service and elected representatives need to undertake a reality check concerning capital and carrying charge expenditures. However, I do not have much hope that these current representatives except Denis Welsh will understand that belt tightening is needed. The revisions to the City’s budget was an example of how the city and mayor and Council made a half hearted attempt to address the current and foreseeable future and the tax impact on taxpayers.

    The well is dry, folks.

  2. Tony Brumell // August 15, 2020 at 5:32 PM // Reply

    You say you don’t think that a skating rink is a good fit for riverside Park. Now how about an other skating rink at McGowan school made possible by filling in park of Mc Gowan pond (wetland ) how insane are these people ? Wetlands are precious and must be preserved and Mc Gowan is one of the finest in the city. Will you please look into this and let us know what is happening in this location. I (WE) will do whatever is necessisary to stop this kind of idiocy.

  3. David Johnson // August 14, 2020 at 7:38 PM // Reply

    For what may actually be the first time,
    I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Walsh,
    this is not the time.
    Not unlike the PAC, lets chat this up in a couple years.
    The Cities focus should be fiscal retraction,
    no recreational new adds, no pet projects, and lets backburner even the ‘transportation Plan’.
    Pay for the basics and actual needs, keep the roads open, pay for whats already in action (TCC ect) and let everything else ride.

  4. John Noakes // August 14, 2020 at 7:00 PM // Reply

    We have disagreed before Denis but you are often the voice of reason in matters like this. We are far from being out of the woods with the pandemic. If there is no change from the spend spend spend attitude with public money, then I see a rough road ahead.

    This fellow was once a kid who used to work on farms during the summer and remembers a saying that goes something like, “you can’t milk the cow forever without it running dry”. That’s the way it is with public money.
    Nobody listened when the same kid recognized dead ground either. “Weeds grow just about anywhere.” When there are no weeds, it means something, Denis.

  5. Not only it is a total frill in lieu of COVID-19 but also because the other ongoing calamity called climate change/global warming and worldwide pollution. It never ceases to amaze me the frivolous talk of sustainability coming with regularity from the City PR department (aka propaganda and rhetoric) but all the acting (as in doing things) is consistently in the opposite direction. Fully do not support this project.

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