Dome facility decision should have followed referendum
Letter to the Editor
I was surprised to hear that City of Cranbrook council has unanimously approved building the soccer dome when we are in a crisis with COVID-19.
There has been much debate in the last couple of years over the costs to build, location, reliability of structure and costs of operating.
The question I have to council is why are we building a soccer dome when we are in the mist of COVID-19 which is costing hundreds of jobs in the community and many business closures?
Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association (KEYSA), the organization heading the project, has raised the funds to pay for the dome and has committed to operating the dome. This sounds great. Cranbrook gets a soccer dome at no costs and will have no costs in the operation of the dome – really?
Now let’s hear the rest of the story:
- To date the city has paid for costs associated with relocating the BMX track and other costs associated with accommodating the dome at Balmont Park.
- These costs could have been avoided if the dome was located at Moir Park which has room and is dedicated to soccer and ball.
- KEYSA has budgeted $100 hour rental fee to pay for operating costs. Other similar facilities require $150 to $200 an hour to cover costs with no profit.
- With restrictions placed as a result of COVID-19, how will KEYSA be able to generate required income?
- Construction tenders have come in at $1.2 million when similar projects have been as high as $4 million.
- Who will be responsible for any overruns on construction, capital expenditures for upkeep and shortfalls on revenue to meet operating costs?
- Is KEYSA personally guaranteeing any shortfall or are the tax payers on the hook?
I think as citizens of this community we should be questioning our mayor and councillors on how they can justify this project when the community cannot afford another tax increase.
We need to support our business community, not chase them out of town because of increased taxes. A referendum is required.