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Plenty of public feedback from open house

Many questions were focused on the financing of the $4.5 million aquatic centre repairs. - File Photo
Many questions were focused on the financing of the $4.5 million aquatic centre repairs.
— image credit: File Photo

The Nelson and District Parks and Recreation open houses held in late April are being called a success by organizers.

Approximately 180 people participated across the four events held in South Slocan, Balfour and Nelson.

The event was an important part of an on-going conversation about the future of parks and recreation in Nelson and area.

Now it’s the job of master plan consultant Gary Young to document all the feedback gathered.  This latest round of community input will guide the final recommendations for the five-year parks and recreation master plan.

Not only was feedback collected, but so were questions. One of the most popular queries was about the financing of the $4.5 million aquatic centre repair.

Why borrow the funds over a steep five-year term instead of choosing a more manageable 10-year term?

“Although homeowners will pay an additional $27 annually [on a $400,000 home], it will actually cost much less in the long run,” explained Joe Chirico, general manager of community services.

“By choosing a shorter term, taxpayers pay $720,000 less overall for the pool repair. We want to be as fiscally responsible as we can.”

Another question that surfaced was about the Community Recreation Campus — a progressive approach to developing the city-owned block which houses the aquatic centre, ice arenas, curling club and indoor soccer facility.

The campus would be the community’s hub of indoor physical activity and have a campus-like feel.

Visual exhibits depicting a wish list of ideas for the project were on display at the open house and sparked conversation. The public  wanted to know if the campus plan was final?

“The Rec Campus concept is a starting point for discussion,” said Chirico.

“The commission is looking for input from residents on the best use of our indoor facilities and physical space around the NDCC.

Continuing with the status quo is the easy choice but other uses may be better, especially when you consider that recreation use patterns are changing.”

Chirico adds, “Generally speaking, communities need to continue investing in recreational facilities to keep them vibrant.”

Attendees were also curious about what kinds of public investment had been made recently in parks and trails.

The long-awaited skateboard and bike skills park in Rosemont was opened in 2013.

A total of $333,000 has been devoted to the expansion of popular Taghum Beach Park. The park expansion includes the purchase of 8.3 acres bordering the day-use area, more parking, better traffic flow, trail construction and a new viewpoint.

The RDCK will also invest close to $40,000 in a management plan for the new Balfour Beach Park. The acquisition of this piece of land is in keeping with a policy developed a few years ago to keep pieces of foreshore for public use.

Anyone who wants to let the RDCK know how they’d like to see public funds invested can submit  comments on-line at rdck.ca  /masterplan or in person at the NDCC until Friday, May 16.

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