Renovation add-ons can chalk up fast

Columnist thankful the name change for the Terrace B.C. aquatic centre doesn't mean significant changes and extra cost.

Possibly the most common phrase sure to be spoken at some time during any renovation whether in a home or a public building are the four little words, “While you’re at it …”.

Those four little words can compound what began as a simple, relatively inexpensive makeover into a do-over of large proportions leading to hours of extra labour, thousands of dollars of additional costs, major structural changes, and countless nights plodding bare foot to the bathroom through plaster dust.

When I read in the news that while Terrace is anyway carrying out major renovations to the aquatic centre the regional district has asked for the building’s name to be changed to acknowledge the tax contribution made by residents living in the surrounding area, my first thought was, “Please. No. Not round two.”

Round one played out last fall when Area E’s elected representative put his foot down and pushed for the ‘Welcome to Terrace’ sign along Highway 16 East to be moved to sit on actual Terrace land rather than Thornhill acreage.

Though the request had been put forward multiple times over eight years, that motion finally uprooted the sign but not without controversy that raged for weeks with insults thrown like darts, many labelling Thornhill taxpayers as leeches, claiming we didn’t pay to use such city recreational amenities as the swimming pool, arena and library.

Many criticisms were  posted by readers who seemed to have skimmed only the first line or two of any reference, then winged it from there on, inadvertently exposing their misguided understanding of Thornhill and surrounding rural area taxes and how much we pay annually toward city recreational facilities.

Thornhill and the surrounding rural area have always contributed to the operating costs of these facilities, and will similarly shoulder our share of the aquatic centre renovations costs.

The Terrace Standard reports the city received $4.235 million in federal gas tax money to help pay for the project, which is estimated to cost about $8.8 million. The city will be borrowing a substantial amount of the remaining cost and Thornhill and surrounding rural area residents will contribute through taxes 3l.5 per cent of the amount.

That’s the same ratio now paid for the centre’s annual operating costs by Thornhill and surrounding rural residents living east to Chindemash, south to Lakelse Lake, and north excluding Dover and Oscar.

That same ratio extends to the city’s overall recreation programs as well as for the Terrace Public Library.

The Terrace Standard goes on to report part of the regional district’s approval of sharing borrowing costs was to request that the city consider a name change for the facility to reflect the broader community since usage and tax money comes from an area larger than just the city.

Expect this change to be done by simply adding the words “and District” to the existing name.

I was relieved to learn that.

I had envisioned an unwieldy name listing every individual area until the sign would be long enough to wrap part way around the building.

The fact the front of the building is slated to be included in the renovations does away with my concern previous bolts or sign fastenings might be removed leaving unsightly holes in the wall as new bolts were installed to the right or left for a new sign.

With luck, all the “while you’re at its” were voiced in the earliest stages of the renovation design when any modifications could be incorporated with a minimum of backtracking and unnecessary expense.

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