The regional director for Area E says her constituents should no longer pay for recreation services in Nelson.
Regional District of Central Kootenay director Ramona Faust told the Recreation Commission last week that she’s applying to remove her residents from future taxation commitments to services that include the Nelson and District Community Complex.
Area E stretches from Balfour to Taghum, but only residents in what’s referred to as defined Area E — which includes Bealby Point, the area surrounding the southern part of Nelson and west to Blewett and Taghum — are taxed for recreation services in the Nelson area.
Faust, who was chair of the commission for three years and has served on it for 11 years, told the Star she has struggled to find consensus with the city on how much Area E should pay into the services she says are broadening in scope.
“I feel that the recreation service has the potential to grow in ways that won’t serve Area E,” said Faust. “I haven’t been able to achieve a method to ensure taxation is fair inside of Area E. I haven’t been able to define a way to ensure those people who are using the service are paying for the service, and that’s both inside and outside Area E.”
Defined Area E residents contributed $287,890 to the commission during the 2018 financial year. Faust said that amounts to 9.8 per cent of the commission’s overall taxation.
Faust can make the move unilaterally without approval from the RDCK board of directors, but she will require a service review and green light from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
She said Area E would still contribute a specific amount to the commission each year, but that amount would be decided independently by Faust.
Faust said she’s concerned by the possibility of rising costs for services she doesn’t believe her area should pay for. She cited a request by the Nelson Curling Club to have NDCC staff manage its ice plant, which is in a city-owned building, as an example.
“The facilities that are in and around the Nelson recreation complex by and large belong to the City of Nelson. I see no clear path on how those facilities would be integrated into the Recreation Commission, and what state they are in, what the ownership would be,” said Faust.