New society putting sports investments into play
Taxpayers shouldn’t be concerned about an effort to expand North Okanagan sports amenities.
Akbal Mund, president of the new North Okanagan Sports Society, insists residents will not be pressured financially to construct facilities.
“We have not gone into a strategy for how we will get funds. It’s a 20 to 30-year plan,” he said.
“There are other ways communities have done this (beyond taxes). How can we get money beyond asking the general public?”
The society’s goal is to enhance sports and recreation and encourage the development of sports infrastructure and the hosting of tournaments.
“There is a need to get local government, sports organizations and the community together,” said Mund.
The concept for the society arose during the 2012 B.C. Winter Games and the realization that Greater Vernon didn’t have sufficient facilities for all of the activities.
“When it comes to a sport and having a competition, they are under certain rules and you need to have what they call for,” said Mund, who was the Greater Vernon Winter Games chairperson.
Speed skating had to be held in Armstrong because the ice sheet in Vernon wasn’t large enough, while there was just enough space for figure skating.
“Every facility we had was jam-packed and we don’t have anything that will fit 2,000 or 3,000 people,” said Mund.
Mund says Kamloops has invested significantly in sports infrastructure and is able to draw tournaments which fill hotels and restaurants.
“Our business community will be happy to see everyone involved in this,” he said of trying to enhance opportunities in the North Okanagan.
The society is supporting the April 6 borrowing referendum for a running track and sports field at Okanagan College.
The society’s strategic initiatives include a 20- to 30-year facility plan, a centralized resource for hosting events, a volunteer data base for sports and recreation, a sports skill data base and establishing relations with government and national and provincial sports partners.
“We look forward to connecting with the sporting community throughout the region to learn more about their organizations, the long-term needs for their sports and future events they have planned,” said Mund.