West Kelowna’s Hockeyville prize money will not go toward a $125,000 electronic highway sign.
Council members agreed the public has no appetite for the concept during their first round of budget deliberations Tuesday.
“I think the message that we’ve heard loud and clear is that this particular project is inappropriate and I think should be struck from the budget at this point,” Coun. Bryden Winsby told his fellow council members during Tuesday’s meeting.
The Capital News received several letters to the editor opposing the proposed sign after Hockeyville co-chair Adam Less brought the idea forward to council last November.
Chief administrative officer Jason Johnson added the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure also expressed concern regarding the location of the proposed sign.
Mayor Doug Findlater said there is still a need for better signage directing people to the community arenas and municipal hall; however, that problem should not be fixed with Hockeyville money.
“I think, based on the feedback I’ve received, we have to go back to the committee and find a way to provide a legacy they want with the $25,000 for hockey—preferably for kids in some way—and take that out of the mix of this discussion on the sign,” said Findlater.
The district opted to remove the $125,000 capital request from the budget, directed staff to conduct a report regarding the need for better signage and decided to meet with the Hockeyville committee once again to find a more appropriate use for the $25,000 Hockeyville prize.
Coun. Duane Ophus attempted to amend the motion by including a statement that indicated the district’s intent to match the prize amount dollar-for-dollar.
But several councillors were unwilling to earmark money for a currently unidentified project.
“I’m not in favour of sticking a dollar amount or any sort of promise on anything I have not seen,” said Winsby.
Last November three options of how to spend the Hockeyville prize money were brought forward by the Hockeyville committee and district staff. Council was asked to put the money toward an electronic highway sign, a media gondola in Royal LePage Place or a commercial grade wireless Internet system in the arena.
Coun. Carol Zanon said she isn’t happy with any of those suggestions.
“I have a different outlook on this completely; I really believe we have to do something for the children,” said Zanon.
“The other recommendations that the committee put forward are really not oriented toward a child and upcoming players of the sport. I would like to see some kind of a proposal come back that involves the children of this community.”