Kelowna residents get their say on $240M for recreation facilities | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna residents get their say on $240M for recreation facilities

Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

It’s likely to be late August before Kelowna taxpayers get a say on whether they will accept a $20 per year tax increase for five years to pay for recreation facilities.

Kelowna city council has agreed this week to go ahead with $287.5 million worth of projects that include the rebuilding of Parkinson Recreation Centre as well as upgrades to facilities in the Mission, Glenmore and Rutland.

READ MORE: Kelowna wants to spend nearly $300M on recreation facilities including Parkinson rebuild

The approval means the city will forward a request to the province to borrow $241.32 million of that total cost. Once that’s in place, bylaws will have to be adopted by council.

Staff has recommended that public support for the borrowing be determined through an alternative approval process, where 10% of voters have to petition against the borrowing over a 30-day period if they don't want it to go ahead. That's likely to start near the end of August.

Prior to that, when the bylaws go to council, politicians could still opt for a referendum but that’s more expensive and time consuming, and often controversial process that has rarely been used in Kelowna.

Despite the huge cost, tax increases will average about $20 per year for five years, after which there will be no additional tax increases to cover the cost of borrowing, even though it will take 30 years to pay off the loan.

City staff are forecasting no overall tax increases of more than 5% over that same time period.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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