100 Mile House Waterpark Society spokesperson Jamie Hughes and some supporters attended the District of 100 Mile House council meeting to provide an update on the status of the society’s fundraising efforts and to ask council for some support.
Hughes’ announcement the group has raised $45,000 since councillors approved the project with conditions earlier this year raised some eyebrows around the council table.
She noted the society has also secured “on paper” $80,000 worth of labour and materials from area contractors to install the water park. Hughes added the society doesn’t have an exact cost for the installation.
“We have an estimate from RecTec Industries [which would install the water park in Centennial Park near the existing washrooms] but in order to get the actual plans, we have to commit to that company.”
Then she noted the lift station is a stumbling block for the society.
Hughes explained the society cannot apply for the grants from Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) or Western Economic Diversification Canada for infrastructure projects.
“We can’t get them because we’re too young of a society, don’t meet the criteria and we’re kind of stuck for the lift station part of the project.”
Noting the society is around $50,000 to $60,000 away from being able to complete the rest of the project, Hughes said she expected to be able to cover that cost within the next six months.
However, she added the cost of the lift station is “a whole other $150,000 we have to come up with.”
In her conversation with NDIT, Hughes said she was told to see if local government would apply for a grant on the society’s behalf for funding for the lift station.
She noted Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett provided a letter of support, to which Mayor Mitch Campsall asked Hughes if the local MLA would be providing some funding, too.
The society spokesperson said she has also contacted West Fraser and Taseko Mines, asking for financial support.
It was noted that former District operations director Garry Laursen had informed the society the holding tank for the washrooms at Centennial Park is more than 20 years old and would eventually have to be replaced.
It could be replaced with a lift station and service the whole park, Hughes suggested.
Noting the holding tank information was new to him, Councillor Ralph Fossum said it would make sense to incorporate the lift station if the holding tank has to be replaced soon.
The councillor said he wondered if staff has looked, or could check, to see if the holding tank has to be replaced and whether replacing it with a lift station might be an option and then council may want to ask for grants.
He added, however, if the holding tank doesn’t need to be replaced for 10 years, then it wouldn’t be as viable of a concept.
It was noted that replacing the holding tank was not in the District’s current capital budget plan.
Hughes reiterated the society has received a lot of support from the community and people want to the see the water park go forward.
Coun. Bill Hadden then read a letter that appeared in the Dec. 8, 1965 edition of The Hundred Mile House News-Herald, signed by Mr. and Mrs. Ted Kilgren. The letter suggested building a “good concrete swimming pool as a centenary project in 100 Mile.”
After reading the letter, Hadden noted people have been talking about a water facility for almost five decades.
After congratulating the society members for all of the good work it has accomplished so far, Campsall said the District will do what it can do and look into the septic system in the park to see if there are issues.
“We’ve heard it’s not in the five-year plan, so that gives you an idea we weren’t looking at replacing the holding tank for at least five years, and we will support you however we can.”
In response, Hughes asked: “If there are grants you can apply for on our behalf, is that something you would look into?”
District chief administrative officer Roy Scott suggested that before council jumps on the idea of applying for grants on the waterpark society’s behalf, it should consider the amount of money that’s available to fulfill its own plans.
He cautioned council about commenting without looking more closely to see if the District could afford it.
The mayor agreed and said the District would look into the situation with the Cariboo Regional District and will try to “make it work somehow.”