Regional District of Nanaimo Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum) director Lehann Wallace says it’s unfair Area E (Nanoose Bay) does not pay any taxes for the Ravensong Aquatic Centre service.
Area E has not done so for more than 25 years. The Town of Qualicum Beach, City of Parksville, Electoral Areas F, G and H all contribute to the pool services.
Wallace wants that changed.
At the Oceanside Services Committee meeting on Feb, 11, Wallace put forward a notice of motion that staff be directed to bring a report with a draft bylaw amendment to include Electoral Area E within the service area and to present alternate funding models that include usage by electoral areas and proximity to facility funding options.
“We need to look at this and be able to provide a more equitable means of moving forward as a committee for the deliverance of services in Oceanside,” said Wallace.
The notice of motion passed, with Area E director Bob Rogers and Area F (Errington, Coombs and Hilliers) director Leanne Salter voting against it.
Rogers cited a survey done in 2015 on the use of Ravensong in District 69 showed only 3.4 per cent come from Area E.
“There’s no survey done since 2015,” said Rogers. “They were intended to happen last year or this year but because of COVID they haven’t and they have been postponed. So there’s no usage data that justifies at all Area E participating into that function or service.”
Salter said based on the number of Nanoose Bay residents she has talked to, most prefer going to Nanaimo to use pool facilities there.
Wallace wants the RDN board to discuss this issue and understand the inequities that exist. She pointed out that just because the current bylaw has existed since 1993 doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be reviewed.
Rogers said he would support a different fee for Ravensong or other facilities for those users who are not District 69 residents.
Qualicum Beach director Brian Wiese supported the motion as he felt the bylaw should be reviewed and perhaps updated.
“We all pay for parks,” said Wiese. “I pay for parks in Nanoose and guess what, it’s pretty rare that I go use them.”