Pool foe makes coun­cil bid

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Mark NIELSEN Cit­i­zen staff mnielsen@pgc­i­t­i­zen.ca

A Hart-area res­i­dent is run­ning for coun­cil – and against the plan to build a new Four Sea­sons Pool.

If elected, Paul Serup hopes to con­vince fel­low coun­cil mem­bers to nix the project, even though vot­ers au­tho­rized the city to bor­row $35 mil­lion to re­place the ag­ing down­town pool in a ref­er­en­dum held in Oc­to­ber 2017.

“Coun­cil can be changed and it then can be (nixed),” Serup main­tained in an in­ter­view Fri­day.

Rather than tear down the old Days Inn to make way for the pool, Serup said it could be used as af­ford­able hous­ing.

The city pur­chased the ho­tel for $4.5 mil­lion and the cost of de­mol­ish­ing it and the old pool has been es­ti­mated at $2.5 mil­lion, both over and above the cost of build­ing the new pool.

Serup’s fa­ther, Svend, was be­hind a pe­ti­tion call­ing for a pool to be built in the Hart in­stead. It drew 1,660 names but coun­cil took no ac­tion on it when it was re­ceived.

Asked if he would like to see the Hart be home to a new pool should he win coun­cil’s sup­port for scrap­ping con­struc­tion of a new pool down­town, Serup said putting one next to the YMCA of North­ern B.C. and hav­ing the Y man­age the fa­cil­ity is worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing.

At the time the idea was first raised, Y CEO Amanda Alexan­der said hand­ing over op­er­a­tions to her or­ga­ni­za­tion would save the city mil­lions of dol­lars.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to city man­ager Kath­leen Soltis, the pool would have been part of a larger project that would have in­cluded a new YMCA build­ing and “would have cost far more than the new pool pro­posed in the ref­er­en­dum.”

Serup said he would also seek ways to re­duce bu­reau­cracy and stream­line ap­proval pro­cesses.

“Un­less it’s nec­es­sary, gov­ern­ment should get out of the way of peo­ple and let them pur­sue their dreams, their le­git­i­mate en­tre­pre­neur­ial dreams,” he said.


Paul Serup is run­ning for Prince George city coun­cil.

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