Group to pitch sports facility

Plans to pitch a $7.8 million sports facility to Greater Vernon taxpayers are gaining momentum.

Plans to pitch a $7.8 million sports facility to Greater Vernon taxpayers are gaining momentum.

On Wednesday, the North Okanagan Regional District board directed staff to prepare a report on creating a committee that would promote a sports complex next to Okanagan College prior to a referendum.

“There are individuals who want to see this come to fruition and this allows them to get the answers to the questions they are going to be asked by people in their groups,” said director Patrick Nicol.

“Get a small, effective group together and they can tell the story that needs to be told — that this is about vision and looking to the future.”

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee had recommended to NORD that a committee be pursued to assist with the referendum, which could be held this November.

But before there is a vote, the District of Coldstream must get approval to have sports facilities permitted within the Agricultural Land Reserve.

The proposed complex could include an Olympic-size, rubberized running track; an artificial turf field for football, soccer, rugby and field lacrosse; facilities for high-jumping, pole-vault and discus-throwing; covered seating for 400 spectators; a 4,575-square-foot field house with change rooms; and a 1,948-square-foot building with washrooms and meeting space.

NORD has entered into a 40-year lease with Okanagan College to use the 10 acres of land at $1 a year.

While he believes a number of residents support the concept, Nicol admits sports groups and politicians may have to hustle to get endorsement at the polls.

“In these economic times, we will find some thoughtful people who may not think this is the time to do this,” he said.

“But when you look at it over 20 years (the period to pay back the loan), we’re investing in the future.”