The FAQs below were collected and answered in advance of the referendum on Februrary 16, 2013. As we gear up for the fundraising phase of this project, we'll be updating the FAQs! Check back for fundraising FAQs soon!
Go to questions brought up at the Open House events.
Download our Brochure for more information.
How much will the new Aquatic Facility cost?
The Proposed Vanderhoof pool is estimated to cost $12 million to construct.
Where will the money come from to build the pool?
A yes vote on February 16, 2013 will allow the District of Vanderhoof to borrow $4 million. The rest of the money will come from Provincial and Federal Infrastructure grants, individual donations and corporate sponsorships.
What is this money going towards?
This will cover the cost of borrowing $4 million to go towards building the pool as well as the estimated yearly opearing costs (not covered by user fees).
What communities are involved?
The communities involved are Vanderhoof and the Regional District Area F.
I live in Vanderhoof, how much will the pool cost me?
Approximately $0.86 per $1,000 of the assessed value of your residential property.
I live within RDBN Area F, how much will the pool cost me?
Approximately $1.08 per $1,000 of the assessed value of your property, excluding land. The first $50,000 of farm outbuildings is also exempt. View maps of RDBN Area F.
Why does the referendum question for the RDBN Area F have a different rate than the published $1.08 per $1000 rate increase?
The tax rate on improvements only is $1.08 per $1,000. But Regional District overall tax limits (the total amount we can tax for the entire service, not the individual tax bills) cannot be based on improvements. They have to be based on land and improvements or a flat amount. If we multiply total assessments in Area F by $0.74 per $1,000, we get $256,000. We then take that $256,000 and apportion it among all the improvements in Area “F”. This results in an individual residential tax rate of $1.08 per $1,000 on improvements only.
What does the taxable amount I have to pay each year go toward?
The repayment of the $4 million dollar loan plus the cost of operating the pool. This loan will be paid back over a 30 year period with Annual Principal and Interest payments of $275,732 Vanderhoof will pay $198,527 and Area “F” will pay $77,205.
Who will operate the pool?
The District of Vanderhoof will operate the pool.
How do you know what the operating costs are going to be?
A pool consultant (PERC) was hired to estimate current operational costs of pools located in towns similar in size to Vanderhoof throughout the province. Based on their research, a $100,000 contingency was also added to the estimated operating costs to offset any future items that may pop up.
Who pays the operating costs?
The District of Vanderhoof and Area F will be pay the operating costs of the operation of the pool. It is estimated that this will be $630,000 with Vanderhoof paying $453,600 and Area “F” $176,400.
Once the referendum is successful February 16, 2013, the District of Vanderhoof will have up to five years or, until February 15, 2018, to initiate drawdown of loans up to $4,000,000. During this five year period the Pool Committee is committed to seek complimentary other funds from other governments and private sources to complete construction of the existing planned or modified facility. For example, if funding can be obtained within one year, the construction can start soon after and completion will follow depending on design, acceptable bids and weather conditions.
How long will the pool facillity take to build?
It is anticipated to take between take 1 to 2 years to construct.
Once the pool is built, will there be fees - and if so, what will they be?
Yes there will be fees they will be similar to those at other pools. Prince George’s current rates are $6 for adults and $4.55 for seniors and youth. Houston’s current rates are $6.50 for adults and $5 for seniors. Youth ranges from $3.75 to $5.
If I make a donation, do I get a tax receipt?
All donations would be given to the District of Vanderhoof. The District of Vanderhoof can issue Tax receipts.
Is there an election on February 16, 2013 as well as the pool referendum?
Yes. The District of Vanderhoof will be holding a by election for a vacated councillor seat. By combining the Pool referendum with the by election the District of Vanderhoof will save $10,000.
Will there be an advance poll?
If you cannot make the February 16, 2013 referendum date, you will still have a chance to cast your vote at an advanced poll on February 6, 2013, if you live within the municipality. The advanced poll for Regional District Area F will possibly be on a different date, to be announced.
Will voting for a pool take away the communities ability to fund future capital projects?
No. The District of Vanderhoof is asking the public’s permission to borrow the $4 million which is outside the annual operating budget for Vanderhoof. Over the last 3 years the District Of Vanderhoof has dedicated an average of $5.1 million to capital projects.
Will there be opportunities to talk to Vanderhoof council and pool committee members about the pools?
The pool committee will hold open houses throughout the region. The first open houses will be in Vanderhoof, November 20 and Cluculz lake on November 21. In January of 2013 there will another open house in Vanderhoof as well as open houses in Braeside and Mapes.
Where will the pool be located?
The tentative plan for the location of the aquatic facility is next to the Vanderhoof Arena.
What will the pool look like?
The proposed plan of the pool is to have a leisure area, hot tub and a 4 lane swimming pool. However the final details are still to be determined. Click here to see the latest proposed plan.
I am a member of a First Nation, living on reserve. Can I vote in a local government election?
If the reserve is not within a municipality but within a regional district and you are otherwise eligible to vote, you can vote in the referendum in the upcoming election held by the regional district. This applies to non-aboriginal leaseholders as well.
What sort of increases can be expected for assessed value of property once a pool becomes a community asset? Are the increases similar over property types? (residential, industrial etc.)
"I can provide a personal opinion on this topic drawing on my experience in real estate. Usually for a development to have a noticeable effect on property values in a community, the development will have some effect on the overall economy of the community. For example if a University or a new industrial site (saw mill, pulp mill, oil refinery) is built there are many good paying jobs that are created. This overall economic increase then increases demand for housing and services which increases property values."
"Although I think a new pool will make the community more desirable to live in it will probably not create the type of economic boost that would significantly affect property values."
Jarret Krantz, B.Sc. RI(BC)| Senior Appraiser(Acting)| BC Assessment | 200 - 1488 – 4th Ave
Prince George BC V2L 4Y2: T 250.562.7215 x 278 | Toll-free 1.800.757.9766 | Fax: 250.562.7211
I am curious as to what role Stoney Creek will play in the cost of the pool. As non-taxpayers will they be able to bring some funding to the table.
Saik’uz First Nation has been invited to participate in the process to promote the pool and they have offered letters of support and to supply us with contacts at agencies which we normally do not apply for funding.
What has happened to the five dollar memberships? Has it been reinvested?
The memberships sit in an account with the District of Vanderhoof. The current total is $2000.00 as 400 people have signed up.
Could we buy a lifetime membership? What would it cost? Senior rate 50 and Up?
Rates have not been set. Discussions will take place when the pool is built.
Do we have a fundraising committee started? How can we obtain the extra funds for the pool? Will a volunteer group do this?
No, a fundraising committee has not been started. As a mandate has not yet been given by the people, further funding has not been requested. A group consisting of council and volunteers will be established to research additional funding at that time.
What is the increase in municipal taxes if the pool goes ahead?
While the pool committee feels that the $86.81 per $100,000.00 of assessment is the simplest way to figure out the cost of the pool to each taxpayer, it will amount to an approximate 19% increase in your municipal portion of taxes.
How much time do you have to raise the 8 million before the referendum becomes outdated? (ie. ask again to borrow)
Refer to the existing question/answer on the website “What is the proposed timeline for this project?”
The pool is built and the loan is paid off by a contribution by a donor. Will the tax be reduced by the loan assessment?
If there was a $4 million donation, we could not pay off the loan. The loan is a long term debenture and we would have to continue to pay the debt to the due date. What can happen is that the $4 million is invested in such a way that we can use the $4 million plus interest to cover the annual debt payments. The interest earned would probably not equal the annual debt interest but a large portion of the annual long term debt payments would be covered by the $4 million plus earned interest. Thus the annual tax requisition for the debt portion of the pool costs ($275,732) could be decreased substantially.
Is there an email that will be on the letter so the owner can email specifics and receive the ballot?
The mail ballot packages are not ready; however, an email is not sufficient to receive a mail ballot. An application must be filled out and submitted to Cheryl Anderson, Manager of Administrative Services, at the RDBN. When she is satisfied that they are an eligible elector, a package will be mailed out. All mail ballot packages will be mailed out via Canada Post as per our Mail Ballot Procedure bylaw. No exceptions will be made. Electors can return the mail ballots however they wish.
Why does the rural area have to pay for the town to have a facility?
A: The rural area “F” surrounds Vanderhoof and a majority of these resident’s consider Vanderhoof home, it was determined they should contribute as they will also receive direct benefits.
Do non-residents only pay the same assessment rate based on improvements, as applies to Cluculz Lake permanent residents?
Yes, all property owners will pay the same assessment rate.
Does the Recreation/Non-Profit on pg 16 of the tax implications refer to recreational businesses or to recreational property?
This applies to non-profit, not business. It also applies only to District of Vanderhoof properties; all Regional District properties have the same rate.
In the referendum, are non-residents only allowed one vote as was the case in the Fire Department Referendum? Our property is under joint title.
The non-residents are allowed one vote per property. Properties under joint title are allowed one vote and all people on the title must sign off on it.
The original 2010 proposal calls for Fort St James, Fraser Lake, Areas C, D, F and Vanderhoof to participate in this project. Why has this changed to only have Area F participate? Why have the other areas and Towns been excluded in the 2012 proposal?
The original plan to include other communities and their associated regional district areas was scrapped following the last election when it became clear that the new municipal leaders had other priorities for their communities for example :a rec center in Fort St James which their tax payers and the regional area around would be paying into.
In the 2010 proposal, information is given regarding pools in Mackenzie, Huston and other small areas. How was the cost of these pools funded? There is a substantial deficit from operating these pools. How do such small population bases manage the deficits?
Mackenzie and Houston have large industrial assessments and these industrial properties pay taxes at a higher rate, thereby reducing residential taxes. The pool in Smithers is funded by taxpayers in Smithers, Telkwa and the surrounding rural area (Electoral Area "A").
At the Cluculz Lake info meeting ( Nov 21) there was mention of ballots being sent out. Does every taxpayer in Area F receive a ballot ? When will these be mailed out?
Our bylaw to authorize mail-in ballots is for the Cluculz Lake area only.
If a lot is vacant - no buildings - at Cluculz Lake ( Area F) ie. no improvements, will these owner be allowed to vote? If the pool is approved, will the taxes on those lots increase?
Under the Local Government Act, residents of the service area can vote regardless of property ownership (renters can vote). Also, non-residents who own property in the service area can vote, regardless of whether their property includes improvements. If a property owner has only land, there would be no tax for the pool service. If improvements are built at a later date, they would be subject to the pool tax from that time forward.
The 2012 proposal shows a conceptual drawing with 4 lanes at a cost of Approx $12 Mill. Yet the drawing also shows a potential 2 extra lanes are these 2 extra lanes included in the $12.Mill cost?
The proposed $12 million pool includes 4 lanes the other two are penciled in to show the ability to add on and are not included in the price.
If I have a question about the pool who can I contact?
You can contact any member of the pool committee or Vanderhoof Council. If you would like to submit a question electronically, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.