Sports complex still on agenda

Plans for a Greater Vernon sports complex could be back before a provincial agency in a month.

Jim Garlick, Coldstream mayor, expects a new application for recreational facilities next to Okanagan College could possibly be submitted to the Agricultural Land Commission in July.

“We want to go to them and say here’s our package and then talk to them,” he said.

In April, the ALC denied a bid for non-farm use for a running track and sports field. It indicated the 10 acres is suitable for farming and that community need for sports facilities hadn’t been demonstrated.

Since then, Coldstream, the Regional District of North Okanagan, Okanagan College (which owns the land) and sports groups have been preparing another application.

A high-profile endorsement has come from Shuswap MLA George Abbott.

“He is in support of the facility and he will give us a letter of support as minister of education,” said Garlick.

“He is also willing to support us if we have meetings with the ALC.”

Also as part of the process, Coldstream and RDNO officials met with a consultant on sports facility needs Tuesday.

“We wanted to see if she can provide advice to us,” said Garlick of the ALC’s requirement to demonstrate community need.

“We want to make sure we get it right.”

One challenge in finalizing a new application is the fact that the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, which oversees parks and recreation, won’t meet until September.

“We will keep working on it and if something needs to be done, we will ask for a meeting,” said Garlick.

Even if a positive response comes from the ALC, Garlick admits it may be a tight timeline to hold a  fall referendum to borrow $7.8 million for the sports complex.



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