CARD Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee discusses feasibility study – consultant to “re-interpret” old survey, run public workshops

14 May

Chico Area Recreation District is moving forward with plans to build an “aquatic center”, looking for a consulting firm to conduct the required feasibility study. Their Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee (AFAC) is currently working on the “Request for Proposal”, first step in the bidding process . The proposals should include plans for “a public process, market analysis, facility programming, a business plan, as well as exploring funding mechanisms and potential partnerships. Services may also include a site analysis, schematic design alternatives and associated construction estimates.”

Reading over the “Anticipated Scope of Work,” I get frustrated. Most of this stuff study could be conducted by CARD staff, especially “Research and document existing aquatic facilities in the region …” A college intern could get that information through the use of a computer and telephone. Why they need to spend $30,000 on what amounts to a basic English class research assignment is beyond me. In fact, CARD staffer Rob Hinderer told the committee that all the demographics information required in the study is available online.

 Looking at other feasibility studies online – including an article that used a couple buying a home as an example – you see it’s just a common sense matter of deciding if the project is a good idea. But consultants are also hired to sell the project – it’s the way they present it, they way they lead the conversation, they don’t ask us if we want it, they tell us why we want it. 

 (From Wikipedia “feasibility study”) Market research study and analysis. This is one of the most important sections of the feasibility study as it examines the marketability of the product or services and convinces readers that there is a potential market for the product or services.[citation needed] If a significant market for the product or services cannot be established, then there is no project.

 Here’s a swimming pool feasibility study from Otto Township Pennsylvania, 2009. Look at the survey – the answers to the questions were provided

I looked at Otto Township, Pennsylvania, on Google. It’s a  small town, for sure, but it looks like less than 1 percent of the town population participated in the study. That’s not a study, that’s called “giving tacit consent.” All the consultant had to do was run the workshops, prove they were adequately noticed to the public, and provide some numbers for attendance. I don’t know if Otto Township got their project, but this is basically how CARD will go about running their aquatic center up our ass.

Here’s something interesting – they are asking potential consultants to “re-interpret” the old mail-in survey done by another consultant two years ago instead of conducting a new survey. Apparently they didn’t like their previous consultant’s findings that “there is no support for this project in the community.”   So, they will pay the new consultant to come up with findings they like out of the same survey. I posted that survey before, I’ll dig it out and do some interpreting of my own – the questions were very leading, including threats that our kids would fall into drugs if we didn’t build them a fancy new Taj Majal swim center. 

I would encourage people to attend the committee meetings, attend CARD board meetings, and write letters to the CARD board and the newspapers, but I would not encourage participation in the workshops unless you plan to be very vocal in your opposition to this project. Otherwise you are just a body in a chair, and they count you in favor.

One of the items listed on the request for proposals is to fix Shapiro Pool. I think they’re just including this option because they’ve had so much stink from the public since they announced Shapiro will be closed for good at the end of Summer 2015.  They originally said that Pleasant Valley pool would also be closed, but that was not mentioned at the meeting. CARD staff says it will cost SOMEWHERE between $275,000 and 1.65 million to fix Shapiro Pool. What’s with that range? There was no explanation. This is just more crap to get the public to approve a new tax of some sort.

What I’d like to know is, why is there no “pool fund” in CARD’s budget? If you’ve been to either pool, it’s obvious they haven’t spent money on maintenance for years. The money has been going into their salaries, benefits and pensions – for which they pay nothing – like water going down a gopher hole.

I’ll try to post the entire draft later  – I have a paper copy, I’ll figure out the best way to post it on the blog when I get a chance.

4 Responses to “CARD Aquatic Facility Advisory Committee discusses feasibility study – consultant to “re-interpret” old survey, run public workshops”

  1. bob May 14, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

    Yup, they are going to do everything they can to raise our taxes. And we get to pay for their propaganda in the process, hiring all these “consultants” (should be propagandists).

    And guess what? The hotel tax is going up again. You read the piece in the Wretched? That Ursney just barfed up all the tax increasers told her, no getting the other side, no analysis whatsoever. She is no reporter, she is just a stenographer who types what’s she’s told.

    And these people are economic illiterates. They think making already high room rates even higher is going to encourage more tourists to come here.

    • Juanita Sumner May 14, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

      I get really frustrated with the local media. I’ll do my best to cover this thing and keep it in the news as much as possible.

      • bob May 15, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

        I think all the tourists will flock here to pay higher room rates and drive on our pot holed roads, don’t you?

        And it’s going to be more expensive to drive on those pot holed roads. Brownie and the DemoNcrats are going to raise the gas tax another dime a gallon and diesel 13 cents a gallon.

        This after the carbon tax (AB 32) that already hit this year (and that tax will be raised every year automatically).

        Just wait until oil gets back up to 80 or 90 dollars a barrell. We are going to be paying $5 for gas.

      • Juanita Sumner May 16, 2015 at 5:21 am #

        And then there’s water rates. If you’ve already been conserving, you’re screwed. It’s just like my husband has always said – as soon as you decrease your “footprint”, somebody else just steps right into it, and they ask you to decrease more. I wish we had not been conserving these past few years, because they’re rewarding the pigs and punishing the frugal people.

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