A steady stream of Trail residents filed in and out of the Aquatic Centre on Wednesday to learn more about the proposed Riverfront Centre.
The Trail and District Public Library Board and the Trail Historical Society hosted the informational open house, asking taxpayers what they thought of the project and addressing concerns.
If the referendum passes on Nov. 15, the Riverfront Centre will house a new library and museum within 18,000 square feet of space with the option for a cafe/restaurant on site.
Barbara Gibson, chair of the library board, says most of the comments the board heard at the open house were positive. The informational event also gave Gibson a chance to clear up any misconceptions about the project.
“There seems to be comments about the appearance of the building, both positive and negative,” she said. “People don’t understand that the architect hasn’t been chosen. (The mock-up drawing) is what it could look like. If the referendum passes, the city will put out a request for proposal. That is when the architects can apply. The appearance of the building, it is not set in stone.”
Open house attendees also had questions about how the proposed structure would be paid for and Gibson says it isn’t as complicated as it might seem on the outside.
“We have got $520,000 – a nice big chunk (of money),” she said. “We will start breaking down numbers more clearly a bit later on, but people need to remember that the residential tax base is only 22 per cent of the cost to run the city.”
The more money the library board and the historical society raises for the project, the lower the cost to taxpayers.
Gibson also fielded questions at the open house about what would happen to the library space after the referendum.
“A major concern for people is what is going to happen to the space if we leave the Memorial Centre,” she said. “Another good question we got was what would happen to the library if the referendum doesn’t pass, and that is obvious. (The library) would stay where it is.”
Gibson says that she is happy that people are taking the Riverfront Centre proposal seriously, asking questions and voicing concerns.
“Some people are getting a little bit ahead of themselves, but that is okay,” she said. “People take this very seriously, as do we. We want it to be something pretty spectacular.”
The next step for the library board and the historical society is to continue their education campaign. Gibson says the groups are going to be talking to different groups around the city and mailing out informational newsletters at the end of the month and appearing at public events.
“We are just going to push along, which is difficult given our short time frame,” she said. “there is a letter going out closer to the day people get to the polls. Hopefully we will have some more concrete dollars at that point. We are going to be at Spooktacular (on Oct. 24) and we are going to be speaking to other groups on the area. We are open to speaking with anyone.”
Trail residents will be voting for or against the Riverfront Centre in conjunction with municipal elections on Nov. 15. To request information or to book an information session regarding the Riverfront Centre, call Gibson at 250-368-8782.