What exactly are we saying ‘no’ to?


by admin on June 7, 2009

I think we need to clarify exactly what it is we are saying “no” to in the referendum for Chelsea’s new community centre.   I agree with Chris Mick in last week’s “Valley Voices” column (‘Better option exists for Meredith’), that we should be building “at least something.”  So let’s get on with it.

 First off we need to look at the positive side of the equation. The community has secured $6.2 million in government funding.  That should not be turned down.  

The “yes” side residents should be congratulated for raising the funds for this project and bringing it to Chelsea; this a major accomplishment. So we should say “yes” to that.
The business plan has been developed as an outline to establish funding, and is still not complete. In reviewing this plan with Caryl Green and Josh Moon, it was understood that this is a starting point and that the community will still have its say in what is finally built.  The plan will and can be altered accordingly.
The arena is still a good thing because it makes money.  The gyms are a question mark and would be better off turned into a field house as Chris Mick suggests. That would allow a focus on indoor soccer, which would focus in on Chelsea’s main sport all year round.

The missing septic system still worries me, although it is not insurmountable and the sales of ice time are still a risk, but that’s what business is all about.  So there are a few “maybes” here.
The first plan though has a lot of positives; yes, there are some flaws and there are a few things missing, however we now have a baseline centre at $6.2 million and there is a need for another $2.6 million from our community to justify the funding.  
There is also  ”major solution” that would allow us to build this facility and have no additional debt. Chelsea already spends $1.2 million on recreation. It was suggested to Councillor Josh Moon that council allocate two-thirds of this recreation budget for the next three years ($2.25 million) towards building the community centre and we would then have a finalized project with no debt. We should say definitely say “yes” to this.
To me, this would be a smart decision by council as reallocating existing budgets could help us build the centre with no additional debt to taxpayers. At the end of 36 months we would have a terrific facililty, no future debt and even more capacity for recreation as well as a sustainable asset.
The bottom line folks:  we have a chance to get significant contributions from the province and the feds and  we have enough money in our “own existing recreation budget” to get a centre built and completed in 36 months at limited costs to the residents of Chelsea.    
We need to be exactly clear what we are saying “no” to with the risk of having “no” government money and “no” centre.  
There are many ways to fund a project and a plan can always be altered to make it even better.  As a resident, I would say ” yes” to that.
Kensel Tracy lives in Chelsea.