Lack of track doesn’t stop bid

The lack of a proper track isn’t stopping a bid for a major sports event.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee will apply for the 2015 B.C. Seniors Games contingent on the development of a track and field facility locally.

“There is a time schedule for applications,” said director Jack Gilroy of the June 30 bid deadline.

“If we don’t get our name in now, we don’t even have a chance of getting it.”

An Olympic-sized track with a rubberized surface is proposed as part of a sports complex next to Okanagan College. However, the Agricultural Land Commission recently shot down the concept, saying the 10 acres has good agricultural capabilities.

Gilroy questions the viability of farming there, and GVAC officials are putting together further details so another proposal can be put before the ALC.

“I hope we can sit down with the ALC and work things out,” he said.

Gilroy is confident Greater Vernon will have a track by 2015, and he insists that the community needs to attract large events to bolster tourism.

“The Masters World Cup (cross-country) was a huge benefit and that’s why we apply for these things,” he said.

“They support our businesses and increase the profile of the community.”

Opposition to applying for the 2015 Seniors Games came from directors Mike Macnabb and Gyula Kiss.

“There’s some uncertainty here. It gives false hope,” said Macnabb of seeking the Games when there is the possibility that a new track won’t be built.

That is also a concern for Kiss, who points out that besides ALC approval, a referendum would be required to borrow the funds for a sports complex.

“We may not have a facility in place in time,” he said.

There is the possibility of seeking the Seniors Games even if there isn’t a track and field facility.

“The board would need to approach Kelowna for use of their track as a requirement to host the Games,” said Tannis Nelson, community development co-ordinator, in a written memo.

“If Kelowna hosted the track and field portion, 17 per cent of the total Games participants would stay in Kelowna.”

Kiss doesn’t believe holding some of the activities in Kelowna is practical from an organizational standpoint.

“It’s a long distance from here to Kelowna for this kind of stuff,” he said.