FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

This project is an enhancement of the Castlegar & District Community Complex (CDCC).

Starting back in 2006, through various community consultations, it was determined that the CDCC requires upgrades. The latest suggestion came through the 2016 Recreation & Culture Master Plan, which recommended that, “The RDCK and the CDRC should proceed with the enhancements and expansion at the CDCC.”

Several subsequent public consultations have occurred (a public open House, an online survey and a mail survey) to define the scope of the potential enhancements.

The Community was asked whether they would support Option B. 62% said yes. The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) has approved a referendum to take place June 23, 2018 for the borrowing of $22,000,000.00 Million Dollars for the proposed enhancements. Learn more about the proposed enhancements.

While the 2010 referendum was defeated almost 8 years ago, a full planning and community consultation cycle has occurred since then. The users of the facility—and the community in general—has indicated it wants to see the facility enhanced.

The last upgrade was almost 8 years ago, when the senior’s center was added and the hall was expanded. The aquatic center is almost 28 years old and has had no amenities added. The Complex Arena opened in 1976 (41 years ago) and the Pioneer Arena was built almost 62 years ago.

The 2016 Recreation & Culture Master Plan showed that the Community values the facility and wants to see it enhanced.

Community input into enhancements to the CDCC is essential. In fact, we started this project based on direction from the community, and are committed to ensuring all users have their chance to provide input.

In 2006, a Service review by PERC (Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants) determined that the Commission should “develop a long-term facility plan to identify facility improvements as well as facility additions, including a second ice sheet, improvements to the aquatic centre, and the construction of a new gymnasium and multipurpose space.”

In June of 2009, the RDCK completed an Architectural/Structural Building condition assessment for the Castlegar Community Complex and Pioneer Arena. The report indicated that the Pioneer Arena scored a Remaining Value Score of 7%. This indicated “that the majority of building components are currently beyond their expected lifespan and that the facility as a whole is largely exhausted.”

In the years following that review, the Commission led the development of proposed facility and service enhancements. This information was shared with service users and the community.

In November 2010, eligible voters in Castlegar, Electoral Area I and Electoral Area J were asked if they approved of establishing the new recreation service and borrowing up to $25 million for the Complex Expansion. This referendum was defeated.

In 2014, the Commission initiated the Recreation & Culture Master Plan process “to guide decision making with regards to future recreation and culture facilities and services provided by the Castlegar and District Recreation Commission via the Regional District of Central Kootenay in Castlegar and Areas I & J.” This process included significant public and stakeholder engagement, and also engaged CDCC staff and elected officials. The Commission engaged RC Strategies+PERC and HCMA Architecture + Design to coordinate this process.

The master plan, finalized in January 2016, included recommendations specific to the CDCC. Based on findings gleaned during the planning process, the master plan recommended that “the RDCK and the CDRC should proceed with the enhancements and expansion at the CDCC.”

The CDRC directed staff to proceed. The RDCK worked with HCMA and RC Strategies+PERC to develop options and concepts for community review. The Build Your Own Activity Hub initiative was conceived to gather public input into the process. At a public open house, residents were invited to provide their feedback either in person or online. The result of this process was the development of two options: Option A and Option B.

In summer 2017, a survey asked respondents specific questions about which of three options they would support: Option A, Option B or no option.

Option A includes necessary improvements to arena storage and change rooms; social hub-lobby and office expansion; fitness area expansion; and a new leisure pool. Option B includes all of Option A plus a second ice sheet at the complex plus team rooms and lobby extension.

The survey found that two-thirds (67%) of respondents are in favour of a major enhancement to the CDCC, with twenty-eight percent (28%) favouring Option A and thirty-nine percent (39%) favouring Option B. While no single option received majority approval, Option B appears to have the strongest support.

The Recreation Commission felt that, because Option B received stronger support than Option A, it was important to find out whether the community would support moving ahead with Option B if asked in a referendum. The Commission directed staff to proceed to coordinating a survey in December 2017 to gather that critical information. 62% said they would support Option B, and 38% said they would not. These findings are considered reliable and representative of residents in the area.

At its meeting on March 15, 2018, the Board of Directors for the RDCK approved a recommendation from the Castlegar & District Recreation Commission to reduce the amount of borrowing on the Castlegar & District Community Complex Facility Enhancement project to $22,000,000 from $32,370,000. The additional funding of $10,370,000.00 would have to be secured through grants and other sources before the project can commence.

Voter approval to move forward will be sought by assent voting (referendum) on June 23, 2018, on an area-by-area basis within the proposed service area.

There are several reasons why we are doing this.

First, through public consultation including the Master Plan, the community and facility users indicated they want the facility upgraded.
Second, the Pioneer Arena is at the end of its useable lifespan, and a plan is being developed for its closure. The Community has to make a decision to replace it or not.

Third, interest rates are at historical low levels, making infrastructure projects such as this more feasible.

Fourth, there are grants we can take advantage of. The Federal and Provincial Government has recently announced a multi-billion infrastructure grant program, of which $157 million will be spent on playgrounds and recreation centres across B.C. It is important to take advantage of these programs as they do not come available often.

At its meeting on March 15, 2018, the Board of Directors for the RDCK approved a recommendation from the Castlegar & District Recreation Commission to reduce the amount of borrowing on the Castlegar & District Community Complex Facility Enhancement project to $22,000,000 from $32,370,000. The additional funding of $10,370,000.00 would have to be secured through grants and other sources before the project can commence.

Voter approval to move forward will be sought by assent voting (referendum) on June 23, 2018, on an area-by-area basis within the proposed service area. This means that in order for the referendum to be approved, 50% + 1 of the voters who voted must approve the question; and this must be the case in each of the separate votes, i.e. City of Castlegar, Electoral Area I and Electoral Area J. Information about the referendum will be shared with voters in Castlegar and Areas I and J in early spring.

The cost of the proposed enhancements and the taxation impact is outlined here.

Taxation for the construction of proposed enhancements is shown as a cost of .481/$1000 of assessment. Using the assessed value of your home, you can calculate what it will cost you.

For example for every $100,000 of assessment, the tax increase of $48.10 would be required. Therefore, a house valued at $200,000 of assessment would see a tax increase of $96.20, a $300,000 assessed home would see an increase of $144.30, and so on. 

The Recreation Commission is committed to raising a minimum of $10, 370.000.00 or 32% of the total cost through grants. Taxation can also be decreased as the assessment base increases i.e. growth in the community through residential or business development.

The project will not proceed until the grant funding is realized.

Grant funders will not commit funding for projects that do not yet have proven support. Once the community demonstrates support and commitment to funding a defined project, then the RDCK will be able to approach grant and other funders for support.

All avenues for grants and other support will be sought immediately following a successful referendum.

If the referendum is successful and grant funding secured there will a further engagement process with the community and user groups through schematic and design development phases. This is expected to take 6 months. Contract development and the tendering phase will be a further six months and construction is expected to take 18 – 24 months.

The extent of any closures will be determined once the project is approved and discussion are held with the contractors of the project. All efforts will be made to minimize any facility closures.

The Pioneer Arena will be closed and the building and property will revert back to the City of Castlegar. This will happen whether the referendum is successful or not.

Currently, the Pioneer Arena averages 46 hours per week of usage. A small part of this demand could be accommodated at the Complex Arena, however, it is estimated that approximately 36 prime time hours per week will not be able to be accommodated. This will affect user groups and will also have an impact on the community’s ability to host tournaments.

User groups will be engaged and consulted in the final design.

The Complex is an RDCK service that is funded through taxes levied on residents of the service area, as established by bylaws, since the social and economic benefits of the Complex benefit the entire community. Taxation is also used to fund capital projects, while user fees fund the ongoing operation and maintenance of the Complex. User fees are intended to recover a portion of costs, but the Commission recognizes that cost can be a barrier to participation. The Commission strives to balance user fees and cost recovery.

The majority of residents in the service area live in Castlegar, which is why it was originally determined that the Complex should be located there. For this reason, it was further determined that the existing facility should be enhanced, versus looking at new development in other areas.

The RDCK’s standard is to levy service delivery taxation based on property assessment, which is a realistic way to determine ability to pay, versus a parcel tax that is levied on each household despite their ability to pay.

The various components of the proposed enhancements were determined through a public consultation process that had its roots in the 2016 Recreation Master Planning Process. You can read more about this process on the Project Timeline page.

It is anticipated that an additional $160,000 net annually will be required for additional operating costs. This includes utilities, staff, and general supplies.

In June of 2009, the RDCK completed an Architectural/Structural Building condition assessment for the Castlegar Community Complex and Pioneer Arena. The report indicated that the Pioneer Arena scored a Remaining Value Score of 7%. This indicated “that the majority of building components are currently beyond their expected lifespan and that the facility as a whole is largely exhausted.”

The cost estimates are based on conceptual level plans, which have a margin for error of + or – 30%. The estimates will be further refined if the referendum is successful and the project can proceed to the design phase.

Once the project is paid off, the principle and interest repayment ceases. We can’t speculate beyond that what will drive taxation at that time.

The primary upgrade to the Aquatic Centre will be building a separate leisure pool, which will be heated to a temperature significantly warmer than the main pool tank. This will allow young children and families as well as seniors to enjoy the warmer waters for longer periods of time.  Included will be a lazy river with therapeutic currents for all to enjoy and to use for fitness and wellness. Additional play features will be included to enhance the fun experience.

Additional parking will be added beside the new ice sheet.

This is something the Recreation Commission and the RDCK is looking into for yearly membership passes.

The local government is responsible for delivering a number of services to the community, and has to balance the needs and wants of the community with appropriate funding and the effective use of its resources. We must also collaborate with other levels of government to deliver services. Government at the municipal and regional levels doesn’t have direct decision-making authority over health care and education—those are provincial responsibilities. Other infrastructure needs of the community must be managed through long-term planning and budgeting. Keep in mind though, that the Community Complex is an important part of municipal infrastructure and has to be managed in the same way. That is why we use processes such as the Recreation Master Plan and community consultation to ensure we are acting not only in accordance with the community’s wishes, but also as careful stewards of the services, facilities and systems under our care. In the end, the community has the final say by voting and participating in civic processes.

We do raise and lower the temperature of the pool from time to time, but it takes time and there is a cost involved. For example, when we cool the pool for swim meets, the temperature drops by just one degree per day. Fitness classes are held in all areas of the Complex, so we are already making use of all existing resources.

The people who live in the service area represent people from all walks of life, with different household structures and income levels. The Recreation Commission and the RDCK strive to make programs and services accessible to everyone. We recognize that the costs related to recreation—whether for ongoing operations or capital projects—are not insignificant and may have a stronger impact on some members of the community. The community has told us that they want these upgrades to the Complex, and we are doing everything we can to make it affordable for everyone.

The Castlegar & District Community Complex is owned and operated by the RDCK, and funded by the residents of Castlegar, Area I and Area J. Decisions about it are made by the Castlegar and District Recreation Commission, which is made up of elected representatives from Castlegar and Areas I and J.

The Castlegar & District Community Complex is a Regional Facility, owned and operated by the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) and funded by the residents of Area I, J and the City of Castlegar.  When the Aquatic/Fitness Center was added to the Complex, a decision was made by the RDCK Board to exclude part of Area I, specifically the residents of Shore Acres, Glade and Voykin subdivision.  As a result, a separate service was created to fund the construction and operation of this portion of the facility.

Residents and visitors in the area are fortunate to have so many natural places to enjoy recreation and activities. However, some of our residents face barriers to enjoying all those amenities you mention—whether because they don’t have access to a car or funds to purchase sporting equipment, or they face accessibility challenges. The Complex is located in a well-populated urban area that is easy for most people to get to and use. It acts as a hub to help people connect with others in their community. We strive to keep programs affordable, and accessible to people with mobility problems. Our caring and professional staff are on hand to help people enjoy the facilities in a safe and effective way. We continuously seek feedback from the community about how to provide even better programs. We know the community values the Complex—in fact, more than 235,000 people visit it each year. The community has also told us that they want to see the Complex upgraded. The last significant project at the complex was the seniors centre 18 years ago, and 27 years ago in the Aquatic/Fitness Centre. The Complex is an important and valued part of our community, and the enhancement project will make it even better.

If the referendum passes, and all grant funding is secured, the Regional District will begin taxing.  The taxes collected can only be used for this service.

Construction would begin after all grant funding is secured and following a further period of about a year needed to create schematic designs, construction drawings, and a competitive process of tendering the project. This would need to occur no longer than five years after referendum approval. Construction is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

The budget figure developed is $161,000.00 in net increased operating costs, including staffing. The tax impact of this increase would only come into effect if the referendum passes, and after the construction is complete—which would be several years down the road.

When the Regional District no longer requires the Pioneer for ice programming, the facility reverts back to the City of Castlegar. The City will have to make decisions about the future of the facility and the land.

If the referendum passes, and all grant funding is secured, the Regional District will begin taxing.  The taxes collected can only be used for this service.

The Pioneer Arena opened in 1956; the Rec Center (ice sheet) opened in 1977; and the Aquatic Center opened in 1990.

Current ice usage is 1.5 rinks, so the Complex ice sheet will likely be over capacity by 50%. All ice sports including public skate will be affected by this.

Current average borrowing rates are at almost 4% but that will not be known for certain until the point in time when all the grants are secured and the RDCK can finalize the loan—and we don’t know exactly when that will happen. All we know is that rates are currently at decade lows, and ideally we would like to take advantage of that.

The Castlegar and District Recreation Commission and the RDCK embarked on a robust community engagement process to develop a long-term plan for Recreation Services for the community (the City of Castlegar and Areas I and J).  It began in 2014 with the development of a Master Plan which was adopted in January of 2016. The Master Plan recommended that the Commission proceed with enhancements to the Community Complex.

Over the course of these four years, the community has had several opportunities for input on the development of the final conceptual design, including open houses and surveys. See the timeline here. What the Commission heard from the community was that the majority of respondents would support Option B and this is the proposed enhancement project that the community will be asked to support in a referendum on June 23rd.

The Castlegar and District Recreation Commission and the RDCK, through this public planning process, have committed significant resources to develop and refine the proposed enhancements. The Commission believes in the process it has followed and believes it is presenting what was heard from the community. The Commission wants to ensure the public is getting complete and accurate information on the process and the project.

A group of community-minded individuals have come together in support of the project and the benefits it will bring to the community. The group, calling themselves the “Ambassadors for the Complex enhancements,” has the same goal as the Commission, which is to communicate clear and accurate information back to the community regarding the project and its benefits. To achieve this common goal, the Commission has decided to provide funding to assist the ambassadors with this communication.

Explore this website for more information about how the project emerged and developed.

If you require further information or have other questions, please contact Jim Crockett, Manager of Recreation at 250-365-3386 ext. 4103 or jcrockett@rdck.bc.ca.

In order for the referendum to be approved, 50% + 1 of the voters who voted must approve the question; and this must be the case in each of the separate votes, i.e. City of Castlegar, Electoral Area I and Electoral Area J. If the referendum fails in any of the separate votes, the project will not move forward. If that happens, the Recreation Commission will have to determine what, if anything, happens next.

The Commission has undertaken a robust planning process beginning in 2014 with the development of a comprehensive Recreation and Culture Master Plan. Through numerous consultations with the community (open houses, household surveys) the options were defined and narrowed down until the project scope was determined and the proposed enhancements were put to a referendum. This is the plan as defined by the community though this process. If it fails, the Commission will need to make some decisions on the delivery of services, maintenance and operations of facilities. There is no “plan B.” Only one referendum question can be asked and presented to the community.

All eligible voters are urged to participate in the democratic process and have their say in the referendum on June 23.

You can learn more about the referendum process, read the public notices and review the draft bylaws on the RDCK website here: AAPs & Referenda (Assent Voting)

The maximum actual taxation rate is required by legislation for the establishing by-law for all Services of the RDCK. The maximum actual taxation rate is the rate of taxation over all classifications.  Residential taxation is just one of several classifications.  Other classifications include business, industrial, utilities etc.  The residential taxation rate is usually lower than the actual rate as some of the other classifications have higher rates, or multipliers.  For example, business, industrial and utilities all pay a higher rate than residential, which lowers the residential rate.

The maximum actual taxation rate sets the taxation cap for that service.  It does not necessarily mean the service will ever be taxed to that rate. For example, the current combined maximum actual taxation rate for the two existing services is 1.87/$1000 (1.447/$1000 residential in 2018) while current combined 2018 actual taxation is 1.23/$1000 (.911/$1000 residential)

When establishing a service, a budget estimate is developed which is projected out five years.  In this case,  for the proposed  new recreation service, it includes current operation costs, borrowing repayment, projected future (new) operating costs and inflation out to the year 2022.

Legislation requires that establishing by-laws set the maximum actual taxation rate. However, when communicating with the public, residential rates are used as that is what impacts the residents directly and it allows residents to see a direct link to their tax bill.