Put it to a vote
Tuesday, Apr 04, 2017 06:00 am
At last Tuesday’s Westlock County council meeting, Coun. Bud Massey introduced a motion to discuss a plebiscite on the Tawatinaw ski hill.
The motion passed unanimously without any discussion and it will be on the agenda of council’s April 11 meeting.
It will ultimately be up to our elected officials to decide whether or not a plebiscite is held and frankly, we hope they agree to hold one.
Stories about the Tawatinaw ski hill have plastered our pages for years because not only is it important to know how taxpayer dollars are spent, our readers are interested in what is happening there, like that fact that the county has contracted out the hill to DK Consulting Services Ltd. for $120,000 until 2018, but will still pay $90,000 for repairs.
We’re sure many of our readers have their own opinions on the controversial, costly and ever-morphing subject, so why not provide them with an opportunity to give their two cents?
The county has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate, repair and maintain the hill, not to mention millions of dollars on the new chalet.
What’s a few more bucks to organize a plebiscite?
Of course, this all boils down to the actual question. We believe the issue may be too complicated to be boiled down to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.
So, should the county keep the hill?
If the answer is ‘yes’, then what? Operate it, lease it, contract it out? If the answer is ‘no’, does the county sell it, develop it, or do something else entirely?
But before that can happen, the county will have to lay out the options and dollar figures so that ratepayers have all the facts to make an informed decision and understand not only the costs, but the consequences of their vote.
Over its lifespan, the hill has switched hands from a volunteer group, to the county, to DK Consulting and what’s next for Tawatinaw is a mystery.
Sure DK Consulting has signed a contract until Sept. 30, 2018, but who knows what will happen after that, or if the contract will even last until then — remember, there’s a municipal election coming this October.
Recreation facilities, profitable or not, help make communities what they are. The whole purpose of the hill is to serve the residents around the region.
And while it’s well and good for us to express our opinion, the people of Westlock County should ultimately decide the hill’s future.