City provides free home for Winter Games

A major sports event has a place to call home and it won’t cost a dime.

A major sports event has a place to call home and it won’t cost a dime.

The Greater Vernon Winter Games Society will have free use of the city-owned Vernon Flower Shop building on 31st Avenue for its headquarters.

“We were just going to use it as parking lot until we find a use for the site and this really helps the Winter Games folks out,” said Coun. Jack Gilroy.

Organizing is well underway for the Games, which will bring more than 2,000 athletes, coaches and officials to Greater Vernon Feb. 23 to 26, 2012.

The city recently purchased the flower shop property, across from Cenotaph Park, for $315,000.

The Winter Games committee will be able to use the building until April 30, 2012.

On a related matter, Vernon council has approved a recommendation from the city’s finance committee that the Winter Games Society not be charged for criminal record checks for volunteers.

There is currently no charge for non-profit organizations needing record checks done, but Winter Games officials were concerned the policy would change and they may face a $12,500 bill for 500 volunteers.

However, city hall has confirmed that there will be no change in policy and a fee is not required.

There is still a concern, though, about how the magnitude of conducting the criminal record checks will impact RCMP staffing levels.

“The 500 checks is one-sixth of what they would do annually,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol, adding that the goal is for staff to do a few at a time and not all at once.