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Hay River voters back plans for $15m recreation centre loan

Hay River voters backed plans to transform the town’s recreation facilities in a plebiscite on Monday.

The vote, held alongside the municipal election, saw 1,131 people have their say. Of those, 721 were in favour of the town borrowing $15 million to expand its recreation centre.

A further 372 people voted to reject the plan, while 38 ballot papers were rejected.

The plebiscite asked residents to support the loan in the knowledge that it would mean a household tax increase of around five percent. The town said this equated to around a $100 increase, over a year, for a household of four. Business owners could see a tax increase of up to $250 in a year.

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The loan, to be repaid over 25 years, would offset some of the projected $24.5 million cost of modernizing and expanding the Don Stewart Recreation Centre – in which the plebiscite itself was held. The town believes it is able to meet the remaining costs through money held in reserve and outside funding.

Earlier this month, architect Rod Kirkwood – who worked on plans for the centre – said the project would “radically improve the quality of life in town”. Kirkwood said the recreation centre could become a “real social hub”.

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