Fraser Valley voters have already spoken on rec center
July 1, 2008
To the Editor:
I am writing this letter to address the many letters I have seen in the paper regarding the Fraser Valley Metropolitan District Recreation Center.
My name is John Kacik. I am a newly elected member to the board of directors for the FVMRD. I cannot speak for the entire board, but I can speak for myself. The opposition to the recreation center has been very vocal. I would like to address the three main issues.
First, at the FVMRD board meeting last week, someone asked what it would take to cancel the community enhancement projects, including the recreation center. The voters of the FVMRD approved these projects in an election. To say to those that voted in favor of the community enhancement projects that their votes do not count is un-democratic. America prides itself on being a democracy. I have been a member of this community for 16 years. I have voted on many issues. I understand the disappointment and discontent some of you feel with the outcome of the election that approved the community enhancement projects. However, we all need to understand that the election and any challenges to it are over. The result of the election was a mandate by the people of the district to precede with the community enhancement projects. It is now time to move forward with these projects.
Second, there appears to be a great deal of concern over the finances of the recreation center project. With a combination of donations, grants, interest income, and proceeds from the bond sale, the community will be able to have a recreation center that will meet the needs of the district. The FVMRD must seek money outside of the funds raised from the bond because of the increase in construction prices since the approval of the bond by the voters. To provide the community with the center for which they voted, the FVMRD needed to find more money, without going back to the taxpayers. The FVMRD is seeking this money through grants and donations. The Fraser Valley Recreation Foundation has been very busy doing a great job of raising that money.
I have examined the budget closely. There are contingencies in the budget for rising gas prices and higher than expected material costs. It is important to note that, as of today, the FVMRD is on budget for the recreation center. ARC, the owners’ representative, has the experience needed on projects just like this one to help the FVMRD manage the recreation center project. ARC will make sure all funds are accounted in the manner required by the law. Big Valley Construction is also dedicated to this project. Big Valley has donated $62,378 of its own money to this project.
I have been told by members of the public at board meetings we should cut our losses and run. What losses? We have everything to gain by having a recreation center in our community. The economic impact of this center is significant: new, year round employment, increased tourism, and stimulation to the construction community in a time when such stimulation is needed.
Third, there is a lot of discussion about connecting a hotel to the recreation center. As of right now there is no hotel connected to the recreation center. Whose recreation center is this anyway? When did the people of the Fraser Valley decide to shun tourist dollars? How can a hotel situated near or adjacent to the recreation center be bad for anyone? Hotel guests will be charged, just like any tourist who walked into the facility. Tourist dollars will help reduce the taxpayers’ cost to use this facility.
This is your recreation center, regardless of were it sits. You will never be denied access.
I have seen a lot of anonymous postings regarding this project. I ask the concerned and interested people of the community to come to the meetings. Please do not just stay for the open forum, but stay for the whole meeting. Watch the presentations on the projects. See what is happening rather than reacting to rumor. We are working hard to bring these projects in on time and on budget.
Thank you for reading this letter. It is a privilege to sit on the board of the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District. I am always willing to listen to any community concerns about these projects. Please call me, if you want to talk.