A screenshot from the Nov. 1, 2021, Parksville city council meeting, where a public engagement team presented an update on the proposed aquatic and recreation centre. (Submitted photo)

A screenshot from the Nov. 1, 2021, Parksville city council meeting, where a public engagement team presented an update on the proposed aquatic and recreation centre. (Submitted photo)

Survey: 61 per cent willing to pay more taxes for proposed Parksville aquatic/rec centre

Firm suggests city holds more in-person events to garner wider public opinion

According to a public consultation study on the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre, 61 per cent of respondents indicated they would be willing to pay more taxes to support the construction and maintenance of the facility.

On Monday, Nov. 1, a team from HDR Inc., an engineering and architecture design firm hired by the City of Parksville to hold public engagements events to discuss the proposed centre, went before city council to provide an update.

During the presentation, Pierce Sprague, public consultation lead, went over the timeline of the public engagement project, starting in 2019 with the ‘Mayor’s Roundtable’ event, to the recent 2021 HDR public consultation study.

“One of the key priorities that was identified was a perceived gap in recreational accommodations in the city, and a rec centre with a pool gained support from both residents and from council,” said Sprague.

READ MORE: Virtual meetings set for Oct. 27 re: proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre

Sprague said the questions they asked provided “a thousand-foot view” of what the respondents were looking for.

When asked if a new aquatic and recreation centre was wanted in Parksville, 76 per cent said yes, while 10 per cent said no, 11 per cent said a pool only and three per cent were undecided. When asked if they were willing to pay more taxes to support the construction and maintenance of the facility, 61 per cent said yes, while only three per cent said no, 13 per cent did not respond to the question and 20 per cent were undecided. When asked how often they would use the centre, 48 per cent said they would use it twice a week or more, 23 per cent said once a week, 13 per cent said never, 10 per cent said once a month and six per cent said a couple times a year.

When asked what sort of amenities would they want to see at the facility, respondents indicated (in descending order of importance) that they would like to see a pool, basketball/volleyball courts, gym equipment, saunas/steam rooms, children’s play area, running track and yoga rooms.

READ MORE: City of Parksville to seek further public input on proposed aquatic and recreation centre

When asked what kind of aquatic features were they most likely to use, respondents indicated they would like swimming lanes, hot tubs, leisure pool for aquafit/swim lessons, sauna/steam rooms, lazy river, water slide, kiddie pool and diving boards.

After the presentation, Coun. Teresa Patterson asked how many people have been surveyed so far in the public engagement project.

“We’ve had well over 125 or so, I would say, responses go into those survey results,” said Sprague, adding that the surveyed results were compiled through different platforms, but approximated that 70 people participated in the initial survey through a pop-up event, and approximated that 45 people participated through the virtual public meeting.

“An event like this would have so much more value, I think, than what we were able to offer through virtual workshops,” he said. “I would highly recommend you do another kind of workshop like what we just conducted in-person, so that you can provide more opportunity for those who are not comfortable online to provide their thoughts and feedback in a similar manner.”

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

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