Outside expertise should guide Servus expansion
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 06, 2012 06:00 am
I am writing about the proposed expansion to Servus Credit Union Place. I spoke to a staff member at the centre and was send an email outlining the proposal. As I started to read the proposal I was struck by the following portion of the report
“Report: As the city’s population grows rapidly over the next decade, and the city’s boundaries fill out, it is important to ensure that the city has the capacity to support growth. Long-term planning is required to ensure that these needs are met. Servus Place is currently hitting thresholds in many areas and requires repurposing and expansion in order to accommodate the increased demands of the community and plan for future growth.”
This statement leads me to believe this proposal is based on a false premise. The statistics for our population, found in the official census, indicate that St. Albert is growing by an average of 1,634 per year.
Servus Place was built originally to accommodate a population of 100,000. If St. Albert continues to grow at its current rate then it will take another 25-plus years to reach the saturation point for which the complex was designed.
It is not clear if the infusion of funds and the expansion will do anything at all to increase membership (approximately 7,000) or simply make more room for the current membership to work out at a very large cost to the taxpayer. The additional funds will likely increase the yearly deficit from the current $600,000 back up to the original $2 million again, covered by the taxpayer.
The city is not growing rapidly and will not for many years. I believe that this expenditure will simply increase the burden to the taxpayer for the benefit of a very few. I belong to the Sturgeon Valley Athletic Club, a private company that continues to provide excellent facilities and service to its members without the infusion of taxpayer funds.
It is time that our city government puts its foot down and ensures that this type of request is completely researched by an outside party prior to any serious discussion proceeds. Surveys conducted in-house by Servus Place can only support the proposal, as they are the ones most affected.
Ted Sackett, St. Albert