The Kimberley Nordic Club (KNC) has reached out to City Council in an attempt to get something done about the state of the parking lot.
KNC President Derm Kennedy presented at a Regular Council Meeting on Monday, May 14, 2018, stating that there are several issues with the parking lot at the Nordic Centre.
Kennedy explained that the Lodge at the Nordic Centre was built eight years ago, with the club contributing $70,000 towards the construction.
“At the time we put in that funding we signed an agreement with the City,” said Kennedy. “Since the day [former] Mayor Ogilvie passed the keys to me, we’ve maintained that building. It has cost the City nothing in maintenance; not lightbulbs, not paint, not toilet paper. The club, we understood that at the time and agreed to it. At the same time and in the same agreement, we agreed that the City would operate and administer the parking lot.”
One of Kennedy’s main concerns revolved around the conditions and maintenance of the lot.
“This parking lot is shameful,” he said about the pot-holes, snow removal, and lack of maintenance in general.
He compared the state of the parking lot to that of several other recreational venues in Kimberley.
He pointed to the Civic Centre, the Aquatic Centre, the Curling Club and Centennial Hall, all of which are maintained by the City at what he says is an adequate level.
Another issue, says Kennedy, is the lack of available parking during busy days or events.
“During last season’s Kootenay Cup event, we had all of our volunteers parking on Deer Run Drive,” Kennedy said. “There were 46 vehicles parked on that street so participants and tourists could park at the Nordic Club. We try our best, we send out notices asking people to car-pool or park elsewhere, but there just isn’t enough room.”
“We bring hundreds of tourists to this town and I think it’s time the City realize that,” he added.
Kennedy brought up four different items for the City to consider, the first one being the clearing of snow. The club’s hope is that the City will put the Nordic Club higher on the priority list when it comes to snow removal, especially during peak times.
The second item was the maintenance of the parking lot, to which the club would like more attention paid, whether it be through grating or paving, to get rid of the pot holes.
The third item was the consideration of Council to ask staff to look into the potential of expanding the parking lot to allow for 15 to 25 more cars to be able to park there. Kennedy explained that he and several other board members have already confirmed there is enough space to do so.
The fourth and final request was for the City to research the potential of developing an over-flow parking lot for large events.
Councillor Darryl Oakley says he parks at the Nordic Centre year round whether it’s for backcountry skiing in the winter, hiking, or huckleberry picking in the summer.
“There are deep potholes in that parking lot. The only way forward is to assume growth within the club and Nordic Centre,” said Oakley. “The question is where to access those funds.”
He added that there are options for the City with regards to applying for funding. He stated that several other non-profits in Kimberley have been granted funds through organizations such as Columbia Basin Trust for similar projects in the past.
Councillor Kent Goodwin said he is inclined to grant all of the requests at the club, but it all comes down to funds.
“We’re going to have to turn this over to staff, with some direction, to try to work with you to accommodate these things. I think we can bump it up on the snow plowing priority list and I think we have to do something with the parking lot; it’s our parking lot,” he said.
“I think everybody is completely aware of the success of your club,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “It’s not something that’s just happened over night, it’s something that you, the board, and the rest of the members have worked on for a number of years. As with many other aspects of Kimberley these days, as things improve and things get really good, the issues that we have change from things like survival over to other types of issues that are a result of success; things that we need to do to adapt to success, which is the case with the Nordic Club.”
City Chief Administrative Officer Scott Sommerville says first and foremost, the City will work towards accomplishing the first two requests.
“We’ll work on getting costs for cutting the parking lot down to get rid of the potholes and the planning department will have to look at space for expansion,” said Sommerville. “We will try to get on the list for resort municipality funding and/or budget for next year. What I’m hearing is something absolutely needs to be done before ski season starts. That should buy us some time to put something together.”