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More questions on the future of  Coopers Green Hall

More questions on the future of Coopers Green Hall

While pleased with the outcome of the Jan. 28 engagement session regarding a potential $3 million renovation of the Coopers Green Hall, the SCRD board has more questions about the project and the future of the facility. The report on project public engagement activities was received by the SCRDs Planning and Community Development Committee on Feb. 18.
Decisions on committing a grant of about $2 million and additional funding from regional recreation coffers to the project are due in Round 2, 2021 budget discussions. Those meetings are set for March 4 and 5.
Donna McMahon, Area E (Elphinstone) director, said the concern for her was clarity on community hall functions and how the SCRD funds hall operations and future capital costs. She stated she could not support any project that was not aimed at “net zero-emission” construction standards.
Area B Director and Board Chair Lori Pratt also supported long-term thinking related to building emissions and ongoing costs for facilities funded by SCRD taxpayers. “Seven generational thinking is what we need to be planning for,” according to Pratt.
A concern identified by Sechelt Area Director Darnelda Siegers was a lack of input from residents outside of Area B (Halfmoon Bay), where the hall is located. Siegers noted that although taxpayers in Sechelt and Gibsons are not impacted by capital or operating expenses of rural recreation facilities, those in Areas A, D, E and F are. The report detailed that 85 percent of respondents to a survey conducted during the engagement process were residents of Area B. Seven percent of respondents were from other SCRD rural areas. Siegers said it was important that directors from those areas speak with their constituents about the long-term financial impacts of the initiative.
Area D (Roberts Creek) Director Andreas Tize said that he has heard from members of his community that the $3 million renovation price tag is “a lot.” Tize said some of his constituents indicated that they would have preferred a “more modest” facility than the one proposed.
During committee discussions, board members raised questions regarding the location of the kitchen in the potential facility update. Pratt noted that in the engagement, a clear public desire was voiced about incorporating pickleball courts into the proposed renovation.
Another area of concern was vehicle parking. The board is looking for an approach that will maximize parking at the site while accommodating access for vehicles towing boat trailers to the adjacent Coopers Green dock.
Staff committed to providing as much information as possible to the board in response to its questions before decisions on the project are due at 2021 budget Round 2 discussions.
Connie Jordison

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