Active Living Centre Referendum

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INTRODUCTION

On April 11, 2022, City Council directed Administration to move forward with a City of Vernon referendum, in conjunction with the 2022 Local Government Election, for the Active Living Centre; a multi-purpose indoor recreation facility intended to enhance the quantity and quality of the following types of recreation facilities for the Vernon area:

  • indoor aquatics
  • community gymnasiums
  • fitness and walking spaces
  • dedicated program spaces

The proposed facility, its amenities, and location are the result of recommendations made in the 2018 Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan and the subsequent Active Living Centre Feasibility Study. Both the Recreation Master Plan and

INTRODUCTION

On April 11, 2022, City Council directed Administration to move forward with a City of Vernon referendum, in conjunction with the 2022 Local Government Election, for the Active Living Centre; a multi-purpose indoor recreation facility intended to enhance the quantity and quality of the following types of recreation facilities for the Vernon area:

  • indoor aquatics
  • community gymnasiums
  • fitness and walking spaces
  • dedicated program spaces

The proposed facility, its amenities, and location are the result of recommendations made in the 2018 Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan and the subsequent Active Living Centre Feasibility Study. Both the Recreation Master Plan and the Feasibility Study were informed by extensive engagement processes with the public, stakeholders, and elected officials.

The goal of the Active Living Centre project is: to find an indoor facility mix that meets the current and future needs of a growing community, while also having the opportunity to attract new residents and visitors to the Greater Vernon area.

The project supports Council's strategic priorities and was supported unanimously by Vernon City Council.

___________________________________________________________________

WHAT'S NEXT?

On October 15, 2022, Vernon electors will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing up to $121 million, with interest, over a period not exceeding 30 years in order to finance the development of an Active Living Centre.

To help electors make an informed decision, based on accurate, fact-based information, the City of Vernon has developed this webpage and a comprehensive communication strategy to share details of the project; the proposed funding strategy and impact for Vernon taxpayers; how the proposed facility would help meet the current and future indoor recreation needs of our community; reasons for the recommendation to build a multi-purpose recreation facility; and when, where, and how electors can vote. The City will also use this webpage to answer questions from the public.

Between August 16 - October 14, 2022, City staff will also be attending various community events and hosting pop-up information booths at sites located across Vernon, to share information in a casual, face-to-face setting, and give members of the public a chance to review material and conceptual drawings, ask questions, and get answers in real time. Please see the key dates listed on the right side of this webpage for event details.

We encourage you to visit these information booths and chat with staff to learn more about the proposed facility, its amenities, and what the project would mean for Vernon taxpayers.

Authorized by The City of Vernon, sponsor under LECFA, dross@vernon.ca

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WAYS TO VOTE

General Voting Day for the Active Living Centre Referendum is Saturday, October 15, 2022, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Voting locations will be as follows:

  • Vernon Recreation Centre (3310 37th Avenue)
  • Fulton Secondary School (2301 Fulton Road)
  • Vernon Secondary School (2100 15th Street)

Advance voting is available between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the following days:

  • Wednesday, October 5: Schubert Centre (3505 30th Avenue)
  • Wednesday, October 12: Vernon City Hall, Council Chambers (3400 30th Street)
  • Thursday, October 13: Vernon City Hall, Council Chambers (3400 30th Street)


WHO CAN VOTE

RESIDENTS

You can vote in a referendum in Vernon if you meet all of the following criteria. You are:

  • able to provide proof of residency within the City of Vernon;
  • 18 years of age or older on the day of voting;
  • a Canadian citizen;
  • a resident of British Columbia for at least six months prior to voting day (April 14, 2022);
  • Are not disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment, or by law from voting in a local election.
  • Voter registration is done at the time of voting.

NON-RESIDENTS

You must provide proof of ownership of the property for which are voting and you meet all of the following requirements. You are:

  • 18 years of age or older on the day of voting;
  • a Canadian citizen;
  • a resident of British Columbia for at least six months prior to voting day (April 14, 2022);
  • a registered owner of real property in the City of Vernon for at least 30 days immediately before voting day (September 14, 2022);
  • not disqualified under the Local Government Act, or any other enactment, or by law from voting in a local election.
  • If there is more than one person on title for the property, you must provide written permission from the majority of property owners authorizing you as the sole individual to vote for that property.


VOTING PROCESS

To vote in the referendum, visit any voting location on an Advance or General Voting Day, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and present two pieces of identification*. View the list of acceptable pieces of ID from Elections BC.

*Please note: the combined BC Driver's Licence and BC Care Card will be considered as ONE piece of ID.

  • Media release: Aquatic centre versatility

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    On October 15, 2022, eligible voters in Vernon will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing up to $121 million for the purpose of developing the Active Living Centre – a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility.

    To help voters make a well-informed decision, the City of Vernon is distributing weekly media releases with project information and hosting a number of in-person information sessions at various open houses and local community events.

    Based on discussions Recreation Services staff have had with members of the public, a couple of key questions have come up regarding the versatility of the proposed aquatics area.

    The conceptual drawings don’t show many fixed aquatic play features. Why is this?
    Based on extensive public input during the 2018 Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan and the subsequent Active Living Centre Feasibility Study, it was determined that if a new aquatic centre is built it needs to meet the everyday aquatic needs of a growing community while also having the ability to host events.

    The proposed aquatics facility does not include permanent fixed amenities such as a wave pool or wave rider, which tend to lose public appeal after time and can be expensive to maintain. Instead, the recommendation is to include primarily portable play features in order to provide versatility for aquatic programming (including public swimming) and have the ability to host 25m and 50m swim competitions.

    Familiar features such as slides, interactive sprays, bubblers, a rock-climbing wall, water walking mat and rope swing can easily offer play opportunities, along with more dynamic portable amenities such as a floating Wibit or Ninjacross course that can be used on a rotational basis.

    If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, another round of public engagement will take place during the design phase to help inform the final design of the facility, including what play features will be included in the pool.

    Below are examples of potential portable aquatic amenities.


    Above photos: Examples of an aquatics ninjacross course that can be lowered from the ceiling to be used in a lap pool. Photo credit: NINJACROSS™ SYSTEMS

    Lap swimming and leisure swimming generally require different water temperatures. How would this be accommodated?
    If the Active Living Centre is built, the pools in the facility would be maintained similarly to the Vernon Aquatic Centre.

    Recreation Services currently maintains the lap pool at the Vernon Aquatic Centre at a temperature of 28 degrees C / 82.4 degrees F. When there is a swim meet, the lap pool temperature gets lowered to 26.67 degrees C / 80 degrees F and then gets raised back up following the competition.

    The current leisure pool is set at 31.5 degrees C / 88.7 degrees F. The proposed leisure pool in the Active Living Centre would be set at a similar warmer temperature and includes 3 x 25m lanes of warmer water that can be used for activities such as aqua therapy and pre-school swim lessons.

    The current hot tub is set at 40 degrees C / 104 degrees F. The proposed Active Living Centre includes two hot tubs; one adult hot tub that would be set at 40 degrees C / 104 degrees F and a family hot tub that would be set at 38.88 degrees C / 102 F.

    These temperatures are similar to other indoor aquatic facilities in the Okanagan Valley that have lap and leisure pools.

    Where can I find more information?
    Visit www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre to learn more about the proposed facility, the results of public and stakeholder engagement regarding the project, and how to participate in the referendum process.

    If you have questions about the above information, please contact Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services, at .

    -30-

  • Media release: community indoor recreation needs

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    On October 15, 2022, eligible voters in Vernon will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing up to $121 million for the purpose of developing the Active Living Centre – a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility.

    To help voters make a well-informed decision, the City of Vernon is offering information about the project and the referendum process through a series of weekly media releases leading up to general voting day on October 15.

    All the information is also available at www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre.

    Why is the Active Living Centre being proposed?

    The Active Living Centre is the result of a key recommendation in the 2018 Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan, to enhance the quantity and quality of local recreation facilities. Both the Recreation Master Plan and the subsequent Active Living Centre Feasibility Study included extensive public and stakeholder consultation processes to ensure the proposed facility appropriately meets the public’s current and future needs for enhanced recreation opportunities, while also having the opportunity to attract new residents and visitors to the area.

    The multi-purpose facility features a variety of aquatic and dry land spaces for many different types of users who are looking to participate in organized and casual sport and recreation activities. It is an inclusive, family-oriented facility designed for participants of all ages and abilities.

    What amenities are included in the proposed Active Living Centre?

    • A new aquatic centre that features:
      1. 50m x 8 lane pool with 2 movable bulkheads
      2. a leisure pool with warmer water, play features, accessible entry, and 3 x 25m lanes
      3. Steam room and sauna
      4. Hot tubs
      5. Pool support areas (i.e., change rooms, storage, spectator seating)
    • Double gymnasium with multiple sport courts
    • 150m synthetic walking/running track
    • 80-station fitness centre
    • Dedicated multi-purpose program spaces

    How would the amenities help meet the indoor aquatic needs of the community?
    According to the results of extensive public engagement, the Vernon Aquatic Centre no longer meets the current needs of a growing community.

    The aquatics area in the proposed Active Living Centre would offer more space, time and opportunities to provide high-demand aquatic programming such as swimming lessons, public swimming, lane swimming, aquatic fitness, aquatic therapy uses and competitive swimming.

    This is, in part, due to the proposed design of a 50m pool with two movable bulkheads that can separate the pool into a variety of configurations (e.g., 2 x 25m sections or 3 sections of varying size, such as 12.5m, 12.5m, 25m).

    By using the double bulkhead system, lane swimming could be taking place in one area of the pool, while the other areas are set up for public swim, aquatic exercises, or swim lessons.

    Photo above: a conceptual drawing of a 50m pool with two bulkheads moved to create three separate areas

    How would the amenities help meet the indoor dry land recreation needs of the community?
    Currently, Vernon has two public gymnasiums available; the Dogwood Gym and the Priest Valley Gym. Throughout the year, these facilities are used at or near capacity for programs such as volleyball leagues, drop-in sports for youth and adults, camps, afterschool programs, and playschool activities.

    As identified in the Active Living Centre Feasibility Study, without adding new facilities, new programming opportunities cannot be created. If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, the double gymnasium in the Active Living Centre would significantly increase the amount of available public gym space and recreation opportunities for the community.

    Photo above: a conceptual drawing of a double gymnasium with multiple sport courts

    The 150m walking/running track, which would be located above the gymnasium, would offer participants Vernon’s first indoor synthetic walking surface.

    The 80-station fitness centre would feature cardio equipment, resistance machines and free weights, and dedicated multi-purpose program spaces that could accommodate various activities such as fitness classes, courses, and children’s programming.

    Photo above: a conceptual drawing of a 150m, 3-lane synthetic walking/running track

    Where can I find more information?
    To learn more about the proposed facility, the impact for taxpayers, the results of public and stakeholder engagement regarding the project, and how to participate in the referendum process, please visit www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre.

    Photo above: conceptual drawing of a multi-purpose room.

    If you have questions about the above information, please contact Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services, at dross@vernon.ca.

    -30-

  • Did you know - updated weekly

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    Since 2020, the City has been collecting frequently asked questions regarding the proposed Active Living Centre and the referendum process. Answers to these questions are available under the FAQ tab of this webpage, but we are also providing the information on the City's social media channels each week with a "Did you know...?" feature. As the social media posts are shared, they will also be added to the news feed section of this webpage.


    Want to find us on social media? You can follow the City on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn using the handle @CityofVernon.

    Did you know - September 29

    The features and amenities within the proposed Active Living Centre are the result extensive public and stakeholder input.

    The Active Living Centre Feasibility Study was conducted between October 2019 and April 2020. The Feasibility Study included a comprehensive public and stakeholder engagement process to ensure the proposed facility reflects what the public asked for, meets the current and future needs of residents, and also has the opportunity to attract new residents and visitors to the area.

    Specific engagement activities that took place during the Feasibility Study included: an Elected Officials workshop; a direct mail random sample survey; an open house; three online surveys – one of which specifically sought input from youth; six focus groups; 10 pop-up events; and 21 stakeholder groups.

    Did you know - September 22

    The proposed Active Living Centre includes several dry land spaces to serve a growing community.

    Currently, Vernon has two public gymnasiums; the Dogwood Gym and the Priest Valley Gym, which are used at or near capacity year-round for volleyball leagues, drop-in sports, camps, afterschool programs, playschool activities and public rentals.

    If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, a double gymnasium in the Active Living Centre would significantly increase the amount of available public gym space and recreation opportunities for the community.

    The 150m walking/running track, which would be located above the gymnasium, would offer participants Vernon’s first indoor synthetic walking surface.

    The 80-station fitness centre would feature cardio equipment, resistance machines and free weights. Dedicated multi-purpose rooms would provide space for a variety of activities such as fitness classes, dance classes, general interest programs, and children’s programming.

    Did you know - September 15

    The aquatics area of the proposed Active Living Centre includes a 50m pool with 2 movable bulkheads.

    A bulkhead is a structure that can separate a pool into different sections. With 2 movable bulkheads, a 50m pool can be separated into 2 x 25m sections or 3 areas of varying size (e.g., 12.5m, 12.5m, 25m). If built, this functionality would provide increased aquatic programming opportunities.

    As an example: lane swimming could be taking place in one area of the pool, while the other areas are set up for public swim, aquatic exercises, or swim lessons.

    Based on extensive public and stakeholder engagement, having a 50m pool with movable bulkheads would provide the desired goal of accommodating the everyday aquatic needs of the community while also having the ability to host events.

    Did you know - September 8

    The City of Vernon is committed to seeking grants, donations and naming rights revenues, as opportunities arise, to reduce the overall cost of the proposed Active Living Centre project and the impact for taxpayers.

    Recently, the City applied for a grant of up to $6 million through the Canada Community Building Fund in British Columbia. If electors vote in favour of the referendum question and if the grant application is successful, the funds can be used toward the planning, design, and construction of the facility.

    According to the grant administrator, information on the status of the City’s application is not expected to be available until the end of 2022 or the start of 2023.

    Did you know - September 1

    If the proposed Active Living Centre is built, it will be located at Kin Race Track Athletic Park, adjacent to Kal Tire Place.

    Based on extensive public input during the #ActiveLivingCentre Feasibility Study, a single, multi-purpose recreation facility is the preferred option. It is estimated that $300,000 can be saved annually by operating one aquatic facility with a 50m pool instead of 2 separate 25m pools in different locations. By building the facility adjacent to Kal Tire Place, additional cost savings and increased energy efficiencies can be realized by taking advantage of heat recapture technology; using the heat loss from the arenas to assist in heating the new facility.

    Did you know - August 25

    The proposed Active Living Centre is the result of extensive public consultation regarding the indoor recreation needs of residents in the Vernon area.

    In 2018, Greater Vernon Recreation Services conducted a consultation process with the public, stakeholders, and elected officials in order to develop the Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan. One of the Master Plan's many recommendations was to enhance the quantity and quality of local recreation facilities, including: indoor aquatics, community gymnasiums, dedicated program spaces and fitness/walking spaces.

    In 2020, the Active Living Centre Feasibility Study was completed, which also included extensive engagement and consultation with the public, stakeholders and elected officials.

    Through that consultation process, a preferred option was identified, to build a single multi-purpose recreation facility - the Active Living Centre.

    The proposed facility includes a new aquatic centre which features a 50m pool with two moveable bulkheads, a leisure pool, hot tubs and sauna, an 80-station fitness centre, a 150m synthetic walking/running track, and dedicated program spaces.

  • Question of the Week - updated weekly

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    Since 2020, the City has been collecting frequently asked questions regarding the proposed Active Living Centre and the referendum process. Answers to these questions are available under the FAQ tab of this webpage, but we are also providing the information on the City's social media channels each week with a "Question of the Week." As the social media posts are shared, they will also be added to the news feed section of this webpage.


    Want to find us on social media? You can follow the City on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn using the handle @CityofVernon.

    Question of the Week - September 27

    Q: If the proposed Active Living Centre is built, will user fees be the same for all participants?

    A: No. If electors in Vernon vote in favour of the referendum question, a differential fee structure will be created. User fees will be discounted for City of Vernon taxpayers, who will also be able to register for programs and classes one week before people who do not contribute through their taxes. This is a significant benefit to Vernon taxpayers, as programs (like swim lessons) are often at or near capacity. City of Vernon taxpayers will also be eligible for the Affordable Access Pass for those individuals who are financially disadvantaged.

    Individuals and families from jurisdictions that do not contribute to the facility through their taxes will be able to pay an annual ‘membership’ fee in order to access the discounted fee structure.

    Jurisdictions that wish all of their citizens to have access to the discounted user fee can enter into a Fee for Service Agreement with the City of Vernon.

    Question of the Week - September 20

    Q: Why don’t the conceptual drawings for the Active Living Centre feature more fixed aquatic play structures?

    A: The proposed aquatics facility does not include permanent fixed amenities such as a wave pool or wave rider, which tend to lose public appeal after time and can be expensive to maintain. Instead, the recommendation is to use primarily portable play features to provide versatility for aquatic programming and have the ability to host 25m and 50m swim competitions.

    Familiar features such as slides, interactive sprays, bubblers, a rock-climbing wall, water walking mat and rope swing can easily offer play opportunities, along with more dynamic portable amenities such as a floating Wibit or Ninjacross course that can be used on a rotational basis.

    If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, another round of public engagement will take place during the design phase to help inform the final design of the facility, including what play features will be included in the pool.

    Question of the Week - September 14

    Q: How would the Active Living Centre meet the everyday indoor recreation needs of the community?

    A: Based on extensive public input, there is a need to enhance the quantity and quality of indoor recreation facilities for the Vernon area. The proposed Active Living Centre is a multi-purpose facility that features a variety of wet and dry land spaces for many different types of users who are looking to participate in organized and casual sport and recreation activities. It is an inclusive, family-oriented facility designed for participants of all ages and abilities.

    The aquatics area (which includes a 50m pool with two moveable bulkheads, a leisure pool, hot tubs and sauna) would offer more space, time and opportunities to provide high-demand aquatic programming such as swimming lessons, public swimming, lane swimming, aquatic fitness, aquatic therapy uses and competitive swimming.

    The double gymnasium with multiple sport courts would increase the amount of available public gym space and the 150m walking/running track would offer Vernon’s first indoor synthetic walking surface. Additionally, the Active Living Centre includes an 80-station fitness centre with cardio equipment, resistance machines and free weights, and dedicated program spaces that could accommodate various activities such as fitness classes, courses, and children’s programming.

    Question of the Week - September 5

    Q: What is the financial impact for Vernon taxpayers, if the proposed Active Living Centre is developed?

    A: If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, the first property tax increase related to the Active Living Centre project is expected to take place in 2024, with the following schedule:

    • 2024: 3.5% increase for debt repayment
    • 2025: 3.5% increase for debt repayment
    • 2026: 3.5% increase for debt repayment + 0.4% increase for facility operating costs*
    • 2027: 3.0% increase for debt repayment + 0.9% increase for facility operating costs
    *If built, the Active Living Centre is expected to be open in the Fall of 2026, thus requiring additional funds for operating costs.

    No more property tax increases are expected after 2027 for the purpose of repaying the debt to develop the Active Living Centre facility.

    To reduce the amount of money the City would have to borrow for the project, and to reduce the impact for Vernon taxpayers, the City is also actively pursuing major grant funding for the planning, design, and construction of the facility.

    Question of the Week - August 29

    Q: What is the Active Living Centre?

    A: The Active Living Centre is a multi-purpose recreation facility with a mix of wet and dry land amenities intended to enhance the quantity and quality of indoor recreation facilities in the Vernon area.

    The proposed facility includes:

    • a 50m pool with two moveable bulkheads (allows option to divide the pool into 3 activity areas or 2 x 25m swim areas)
    • a leisure pool
    • hot tubs
    • sauna and steam room
    • a double gymnasium with multiple sport courts
    • an 80-station fitness centre
    • a 150m synthetic walking/running track
    • multi-purpose activity and program spaces

    Question of the Week - August 22

    Q: Why is the City of Vernon holding a referendum on October 15th?

    A: The City of Vernon is asking the public to approve the borrowing of up to $121 million to plan, design and construct a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility called the Active Living Centre. The facility would be located at Kin Race Track Athletic Park (3501 43rd Avenue). The Province of British Columbia requires public approval of long-term borrowing.

  • Media release: How the proposed Active Living Centre fits within the Kin Race Track Athletic Park site

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    On October 15, 2022, eligible voters in Vernon will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing up to $121 million for the purpose of developing the Active Living Centre – a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility.

    The proposed facility includes a double gymnasium with multiple sport courts; an 80-station fitness centre; a 150m synthetic walking/running track; and multi-purpose activity and program spaces, as well as a new aquatic centre that features a 50m pool; leisure pool; hot tubs; sauna and steam room.

    The City of Vernon is continuing its series of weekly media releases to share detailed project information to help voters make a well-informed decision on October 15th. This week, the City is providing more information on the location of the proposed facility, which is the newly designated Kin Race Track Athletic Park, near Kal Tire Place on 43rd Avenue.

    Photo above: a conceptual drawing of the proposed Active Living Centre, located on the south end of the newly designated Kin Race Track Athletic Park at 3501 43rd Avenue.

    What is Kin Race Track Athletic Park?

    The City of Vernon has conducted an extensive public planning process for the development of the former Kin Race Track lands, located at 3501 43rd Avenue.

    Based on Council direction and public consultation, the lands will be developed as a year-round outdoor athletic park and will include: outdoor sports fields; indoor and outdoor ice surfaces; recreational trails; a dog park; and natural wetland trails.

    Additionally, a portion of the land has been designated for the construction of a new indoor recreation facility – the Active Living Centre. If approved by voters, the facility will be built at the south end of the park, near Kal Tire Place.

    Are Kin Race Track Athletic Park and the Active Living Centre part of the same development project?

    No. These are two separate projects for the City of Vernon. The planning and development process for Kin Race Track Athletic Park is not part of this referendum.

    If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, the $121 million budget will be used for the development of the Active Living Centre and the land required for the facility. However, planning and design of the Active Living Centre project will consider future plans for the Kin Race Track site, to ensure construction activities are completed in an effective and efficient manner for future development of the athletic park and that the Active Living Centre complements the future Kin Race Track Athletic Park.

    When will Kin Race Track Athletic Park be developed?

    At its June 13, 2022 Regular meeting, Council endorsed a concept plan for Kin Race Track Athletic Park and directed staff to conduct Geotechnical, Environmental, Archeological and Traffic Impact Assessments on the site. Once those assessments are completed, staff will prepare a recommendation for Council’s consideration regarding a funding strategy and project phasing plan.

    Do the two projects have to be developed at the same time?

    No. If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, the Active Living Centre can be constructed and opened before the completion of Kin Race Track Athletic Park.

    Why build the Active Living Centre near Kal Tire Place?

    Based on extensive public input during the Active Living Centre Feasibility Study, a single, multi-purpose recreation facility is the preferred option. It is estimated that $300,000 can be saved annually by operating one aquatic facility with a 50m pool instead of 2 separate 25m pools in different locations. By building the facility near Kal Tire Place, additional cost savings and increased energy efficiencies can be realized by taking advantage of heat recapture technology; using the heat loss from the arenas to assist in heating the new Active Living Centre.

    Where can I find more information about Kin Race Track Athletic Park?

    Visit www.engagevernon.ca/kin-race-track to learn more about the Kin Race Track Athletic Park planning process and to see a conceptual drawing of the park layout.

    Where can I find more information about the Active Living Centre?

    Visit www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre to learn more about the proposed Active Living Centre project and the referendum process. If you have questions about the above information, please contact Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services, at dross@vernon.ca.

    -30-

  • Media release: City clarifies financial information for proposed Active Living Centre

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    On October 15, 2022, eligible voters in Vernon will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing up to $121 million for the purpose of developing the Active Living Centre – a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility. To help voters make a well-informed decision, the City is distributing a series of detailed media releases discussing various aspects of the project and the referendum process.

    Yesterday, the City distributed a media release about the funding strategy and impact for Vernon taxpayers.

    “Since we distributed yesterday’s media release, we’ve received questions from the public seeking clarification on the borrowing terms and tax impact,” said Christy Poirier, Manager, Communications and Grants. “The City’s objective is to provide accurate, fact-based information in a clear and concise manner to achieve shared understanding with citizens. Therefore, we believe it’s prudent to offer additional information and clarification as quickly as possible.”

    Loan amount and borrowing terms

    If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, the City of Vernon would borrow up to $121 million over a four-year period (2023 – 2026) from the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA). The funds would be used for the planning, design and construction of the Active Living Centre.

    The loan would have a 30-year term, with an estimated interest rate of 4.23%. The estimated annual debt payments would be just over $7.8 million.

    The City of Vernon would have up to five years to begin borrowing funds and would make its first draw on the loan in the Fall of 2023 with the following proposed schedule:

    • 2023: Facility planning and design to take place, drawing $12 million from the MFA loan
    • 2024: Construction to begin on the facility, drawing $40 million from the MFA loan
    • 2025: Construction to continue on the facility, drawing $40 million from the MFA loan
    • 2026: Construction to be completed with an anticipated Fall 2026 opening date, drawing up to $29 million from the MFA loan

    Financial impact for Vernon taxpayers

    It is estimated the average assessed residential property in Vernon would see an increase of $292 in annual property taxes, added incrementally over the course of four years (2024 – 2027), for the purpose of developing the Active Living Centre.

    The first property tax increase related to the Active Living Centre project would be expected in 2024, with the following schedule:

      • 2024: 3.5% increase for debt repayment
      • 2025: 3.5% increase for debt repayment
      • 2026: 3.5% increase for debt repayment + 0.4% increase for facility operating costs*
      • 2027: 3.0% increase for debt repayment + 0.9% increase for facility operating costs

    *If built, the Active Living Centre is expected to be open in the Fall of 2026, thus requiring additional funds for operating costs.

    No more property tax increases are expected after 2027 for the purpose of repaying the debt to develop the Active Living Centre facility.

    “The funding strategy for this project uses an approach that is similar to Vernon’s infrastructure levy program,” said Debra Law, Director, Financial Services.

    “Instead of implementing a single, double-digit property tax increase to pay for the new debt, Council has endorsed a plan to do smaller, incremental tax increases over four years, to help lessen the financial burden on citizens. After 2027, we would have enough new taxes coming in annually to pay for the new debt (with interest) and repay the loan within the 30-year term.”

    Below is a table that shows the estimated incremental and cumulative City of Vernon property tax increases for the development of the Active Living Centre. The dollar values are based on the 2022 average assessed property value of $611,523.

    City seeking grants

    To reduce the amount of money the City would have to borrow for the project, and to reduce the impact for Vernon taxpayers, the City is also actively pursuing major grant funding for the planning, design, and construction of the facility.

    Recently, the City applied for a $6 million grant through the Canada Community Building Fund in British Columbia – Strategic Priorities Fund Capital Infrastructure Stream. According to the grant administrator, the status of the City’s application is not expected to be available until the end of 2022 or start of 2023.

    For more information about the proposed project and to review conceptual drawings, relevant reports, and a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions, everyone is encouraged to visit www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre.

    If you have further questions regarding the above information, please contact Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services at dross@vernon.ca.

    -30-

  • Media release: Funding strategy and impact for taxpayers

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    On October 15, 2022, eligible voters in Vernon will take part in a referendum for the Active Living Centre – a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility.

    The proposed facility includes several dry land spaces such as a double gymnasium with multiple sport courts; an 80-station fitness centre; a 150m synthetic walking/running track; and multi-purpose activity and program spaces, as well as a new aquatic centre that features a 50m pool; leisure pool; hot tubs; sauna and steam room.

    To help voters make a well-informed decision, the City of Vernon is offering detailed information about the project and the referendum process through a series of weekly media releases leading up to general voting day on October 15.

    What is the estimated cost to build the proposed Active Living Centre?

    The Class D estimated cost to build the Active Living Centre is between $112M and $121M, which includes design, professional fees, construction, and both construction and inflation contingency. The cost was calculated by two independent Quantity Surveyors in 2022, and is based on anticipated costs in 2023.

    What is the financial strategy to pay for the Active Living Centre?

    At this time, the strategy is to ask the citizens of Vernon to support borrowing for the full cost of the Active Living Centre. However, to reduce the amount the City would have to borrow for the project, and to reduce the impact for Vernon taxpayers, the City is also actively pursuing major grant funding for the planning, design, and construction of the facility.

    City Council has approved the following timeline to borrow funds from the Municipal Finance Authority (MFA), if electors vote in favour of the referendum question:

    • 2023: Facility planning and design to take place, drawing $12 million from the MFA loan
    • 2024: Construction to begin on the facility, drawing $40 million from the MFA loan
    • 2025: Construction to continue on the facility, drawing $40 million from the MFA loan
    • 2026: Construction to be completed with an anticipated Fall 2026 opening date, drawing up to $29 million from the MFA loan

    In addition to the strategy outlined above, private contributions and Fee for Service Agreements will be considered, as opportunities arise, in order to reduce the costs to citizens of Vernon.

    What is the financial impact for Vernon taxpayers?

    If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, the City of Vernon will have up to five years to begin borrowing funds for development of the Active Living Centre facility. Based on the financial strategy noted above, the first draw on the MFA loan would be in the Fall of 2023.

    The financial strategy includes four consecutive years of property tax increases for the purpose of repaying the debt to develop the facility, starting in 2024, with the following schedule:

    No more property tax increases are expected after 2027 for the purpose of repaying the debt to develop the Active Living Centre facility.

    If built, the Active Living Centre is expected to be open in the Fall of 2026, thus requiring additional funds for operating costs.

    Will grants be sought and to what extent?

    Yes, grant and donation opportunities are being explored to help reduce the overall cost of the project. Grant approvals are at the discretion of the particular grant administrator.

    Recently, the City of Vernon applied for a grant of up to $6 million through the Canada Community Building Fund in British Columbia - Strategic Priorities Fund Capital Infrastructure Stream (CCBF Grant).

    According to the CCBF grant administrator, review of applications and determination of approval is expected to take several months, so information on the status of the City's application is not expected to be available until the end of 2022 or start of 2023.

    Where can I find more information?

    Visit www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre to learn more about the project and the referendum process. If you have questions about the above information, please contact Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services, at dross@vernon.ca.

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  • Media release: upcoming public info sessions

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    29 Aug 2022

    On Saturday, October 15, eligible voters in Vernon will go to the polls for the Active Living Centre Referendum in conjunction with the 2022 General Local Election.

    To help voters make a well-informed decision for the referendum question, information booths will be set up throughout the community over the next several weeks to give members of the public an opportunity to talk directly with Greater Vernon Recreation Services staff, learn about the project, and review material together.

    “We want to provide as many ways as possible for people to get information about the project, why the facility is being proposed for the community, and what would be included,” said Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services. “Information booths are being set up so residents can see the conceptual drawings, learn about the funding strategy and impact for taxpayers, ask questions, and get answers in real time.”

    Information regarding voter eligibility and voting dates, times, and locations will also be available at the information booths.

    Upcoming events and pop-up information booths

    Date

    LOCATION

    START

    END

    • Sept 1

    2900 Plaza Downtown Sounds

    6:00 pm

    7:30 pm

    • Sept 2

    Polson Artisan Night Market

    3:30 pm

    7:30 pm

    • Sept 9

    Polson Artisan Night Market

    3:30 pm

    7:30 pm

    • Sept 17

    Vernon Seniors’ Fair at Polson Park

    10:00 am

    3:00 pm

    • Sept 23

    Culture Days at Polson Park

    10:00 am

    9:00 pm

    • Sept 24

    Village Green Shopping Centre

    10:00 am

    6:00 pm

    • Sept 24

    Vernon Vipers hockey game

    6:00 pm

    8:00 pm

    • Sept 25

    Village Green Shopping Centre

    11:00 am

    5:00 pm





    • Oct 1

    Vernon Recreation Centre

    9:00 am

    4:00 pm

    • Oct 1

    Vernon Fall Home Show

    10:00 am

    5:00 pm

    • Oct 2

    Vernon Recreation Centre

    9:30 am

    4:00 pm

    • Oct 2

    Vernon Fall Home Show

    10:00 am

    4:00 pm

    • Oct 6

    Vernon Farmers’ Market

    8:00 am

    1:00 pm

    • Oct 7

    Vernon Vipers hockey game

    7:00 pm

    9:00 pm

    • Oct 8

    Village Green Shopping Centre

    10:00 am

    6:00 pm

    • Oct 8

    Vernon Vipers hockey game

    6:00 pm

    8:00 pm

    • Oct 9

    Village Green Shopping Centre

    11:00 am

    5:00 pm

    • Oct 12

    Recreation Centre open house

    5:00 pm

    8:00 pm

    • Oct 13

    Vernon Farmers’ Market

    8:00 am

    1:00 pm

    • Oct 14

    Vernon Vipers hockey game

    7:00 pm

    9:00 pm

    **Please note admission fees may apply at community events**

    “The Active Living Centre referendum is a community-based decision and every voice matters,” said Ross. “Your vote is your voice. Therefore, we encourage all Vernon residents to learn about the project, consider your options, and participate in the referendum on October 15th.”

    Information about the Active Living Centre referendum can also be found online anytime at www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre.

    If you have questions about the above information, please contact Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services, at dross@vernon.ca.

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  • Media release: Community aquatic needs

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    supporting image

    On October 15, 2022, eligible voters in Vernon will be asked if they are in favour of borrowing up to $121 million for the purpose of developing the Active Living Centre – a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility.

    The proposed facility includes a new aquatic centre and dry land spaces such as: a double gymnasium with multiple sport courts; an 80-station fitness centre; a 150m synthetic walking/running track; and multi-purpose activity and program spaces.

    To help voters make a well-informed decision, the City of Vernon is offering detailed information about the project and the referendum process through a series of weekly media releases leading up to general voting day on October 15.

    What amenities are included in the proposed Active Living Centre aquatic area?

    • 50m x 8 lane pool with 2 movable bulkheads
    • Spring diving boards (1m and 3m)
    • a leisure pool with play features, accessible entry, and 3 x 25m lanes
    • Steam room and sauna
    • Hot tubs
    • On-deck viewing
    • Pool support areas (i.e., change rooms, storage, spectator seating)

    Photo above: a conceptual drawing of the leisure pool area.

    What are the aquatic needs of the community, based on public consultation?

    Currently, the Vernon Aquatic Centre features a 25m x 8 lane swimming pool, a leisure pool, and hot tubs. Based on the results of the 2018 Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan and needs assessment, an additional 25m of indoor water is needed to appropriately serve the current and future aquatics needs of Vernon and the surrounding area.

    During the Active Living Centre Feasibility Study, the public indicated its preferred option to attain more indoor water is to have a single aquatic centre with a 50m pool, rather than having two 25m pools in different locations.

    “The Vernon Aquatic Centre puts a priority on Learn to Swim programs to ensure children in our community are safer around our surrounding lakes,” said Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services. “Because more of the Aquatic Centre’s available water and pool time is dedicated to Learn to Swim programs, the ability to offer public swimming time is limited.”

    Last Sunday (August 21), registration opened for Fall and Winter programming through Greater Vernon Recreation Services. Within the first 24 hours, most swim lesson programs were full and had full waitlists.

    If electors vote in favour of the referendum question, an additional 25m of indoor water would become available in the community by Fall 2026, offering the ability to have more swim lesson capacity and multiple programs happening at the same time throughout the day (such as Learn to Swim programs and public swimming), rather than having to choose to offer just one at a time. This is because of the double bulkhead design of the 50m pool, which would allow for various configurations of the pool, such as 2 x 25m swim areas or 3 programmable sections.

    Photo above: A conceptual drawing of the 50m pool with two bulkheads moved to create three separate programmable areas.

    How could the proposed aquatic centre accommodate the everyday needs of the community and the ability to host events?

    The proposed aquatic facility does not include fixed amenities such as a wave pool or wave rider, which may lose public appeal after time.

    Instead, the recommendation is to include features such as a rock-climbing wall, water walking mat and rope swing, along with portable amenities such as a floating Wibit or Ninja course that can be brought out on a rotational basis.

    This approach would provide versatility within the aquatic centre, while still offering the ability to host 25m and 50m swim competitions.

    Photo above: a conceptual drawing of the 50m pool with full lane swimming.

    What is the plan for the existing Vernon Aquatic Centre site if the Active Living Centre is approved?

    The existing Vernon Aquatic Centre is funded through the Greater Vernon Recreation Facilities and Programming Service Agreement, with the District of Coldstream and Regional District of North Okanagan Electoral Areas B and C. Should Vernon electors vote in favour of the referendum and the Active Living Centre be built, the City of Vernon will be in discussions with the District of Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C as to the future of the existing Aquatic Centre.

    The Active Living Centre Feasibility Study recommends that if the Active Living Centre is built, the existing Vernon Aquatic Centre be decommissioned.

    Where can I find more information?

    Visit www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre to learn more about the proposed facility, the results of public and stakeholder engagement regarding the project, and how to participate in the referendum process.

    If you have questions about the above information, please contact Doug Ross, Director, Recreation Services, at dross@vernon.ca.

    -30-

  • Media release: FAQs

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    19 August 2022

    On Saturday, October 15, 2022, eligible voters in Vernon will be asked if they are in favour of the City of Vernon borrowing up to $121 million for the purpose of developing the proposed Active Living Centre – a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility.

    Over the next several weeks, the City will be providing a series of media releases with detailed information about the project, the results of extensive public and stakeholder engagement that helped shape the proposed facility, the funding strategy and impact for Vernon taxpayers, and much more.

    All the information is also available right now at www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre.

    In addition to the website and media releases, Recreation Services staff will be hosting a series of information booths at upcoming community events and open houses. You can find details of those opportunities to chat with staff by visiting engagevernon.ca.

    The City’s objective is to share accurate, fact-based information about the project to help voters make a well-informed decision on October 15. The City is also encouraging citizens to vote. This is a community-based decision and every voice matters. Your vote is your voice.

    Below are the first few Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the project and the upcoming referendum.

    Why is there a referendum on this issue?
    The Province of British Columbia requires public approval of long-term borrowing. The City of Vernon is asking the public to approve borrowing up to $121 million to plan, design, and construct a new multi-purpose indoor recreation facility called the Active Living Centre. The facility would be located at Kin Race Track Athletic Park (3501 43rd Avenue).

    What is the question that will be asked on the voting ballot?
    "Are you in favour of "Active Living Centre Loan Authorization Bylaw 5908" which would authorize the Corporation of the City of Vernon to borrow up to $121 million dollars, with interest, over a period not exceeding 30 years in order to finance the construction of an Active Living Centre to be located at 3501 43rd Avenue?"

    Why is an Active Living Centre being recommended?
    The proposed Active Living Centre is the result of recommendations made in the 2018 Greater Vernon Recreation Master Plan and subsequent Active Living Centre Feasibility Study. The Master Plan and Feasibility Study were informed by extensive public and stakeholder engagement, which identified:

    • There is a need for new indoor recreation opportunities and facilities in the Vernon area, including a new aquatics centre, gymnasiums, fitness centre, walking/running track, and dedicated program spaces; and
    • The Vernon Aquatic Centre no longer meets the current needs, and will not meet the future needs, of a growing community.

    The proposed multi-use Active Living Centre includes: a 50m pool with two movable bulkheads (allows option to divide the pool into 3 activity areas or 2 x 25m swim areas); a leisure pool; hot tubs, sauna and steam room; double gymnasium with multiple sport courts; activity and program rooms; an 80-station fitness centre; and a 150m indoor synthetic walking/running track.

    Who can vote in the referendum?
    Qualified electors within the City of Vernon can vote in the Active Living Centre Referendum. Please visit www.engagevernon.ca/activelivingcentre to learn more about voter eligibility.

    When, where, and how can I vote in the referendum?
    General Voting Day for the Active Living Centre Referendum is Saturday, October 15, 2022, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Voting locations will be as follows:

    • Vernon Recreation Centre (3310 37th Avenue)
    • Fulton Secondary School (2301 Fulton Road)
    • Vernon Secondary School (2100 15th Street)

    Advance voting is available between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on the following days:

    • Wednesday, October 5: Schubert Centre (3505 30th Avenue)
    • Wednesday, October 12: Vernon City Hall, Council Chambers (3400 30th Street)
    • Thursday, October 13: Vernon City Hall, Council Chambers (3400 30th Street

    To vote in the referendum, visit any voting location on an Advance or General Voting Day, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and present two pieces of identification*. View the list of acceptable pieces of ID from Elections BC.

    *Please note: the combined BC Driver's Licence and BC Care Card will be considered as ONE piece of ID.

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Page last updated: 28 Sep 2022, 04:29 PM