A bunch of kids smile in a swimming pool.

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Will Tofino Get A New Rec Centre?

The district may raise property taxes for the community, calling it a "social investment"

District will have to “get creative” to meet rising costs

Tofino is known as a playground for outdoor activities like camping and surfing.

Now imagine if the town had an indoor space to match.

Brooke Wood is a Tofino resident and mother who has long been pushing for a community activity space for the town.

“We need something. People are leaving town. They can’t stay in the community because there’s nothing to do,” said Wood to CBC News.

Many residents are thinking along the same wavelength.

A multi-use recreational facility has been in the works since 2015, but rising costs are now making its creation a “daunting challenge.”

Inflation over the last year has made the cost of the building climb by millions—from around $10 million to $14.7 million now.

“To see that cost escalated [gave] me pause,” said Tofino Mayor Dan Law to CBC, saying the rec centre would already be “very unusual throughout the province for a town of our size.” 

Now, the district will have to get creative to continue with the plans for the rec facility.

Fees, grants, levies, and private donors are all being considered to secure more funding as quickly as possible.

“We’re actively looking for ways to find alternative revenue,” said Law.

The district will soon apply for a federal Green and Inclusive Community Buildings grant which could cover over half of the costs.

Funds from new parking fees would also support the centre.

The district could even raise property taxes for the community, said Law, calling it a “social investment.”

It’s an investment that would give the town access to a gymnasium, basketball, pickleball courts, and other spaces, as well as serve as an emergency centre and shelter.

Another planned facility in Tofino, the West Coast Multiplex, has also been in the works for more than 20 years and would include an ice rink and a swimming pool.

It’s also had building costs rise significantly.

If both buildings are applying for the same grants, it’s likely only one will receive funding.

Regional governments from Tofino and other areas will be meeting this year to discuss recreation priorities. 

If you have input, contact your local governments to let them know whats most important to you and your family.