Referendum process begins

Ad hoc committee formed to look at borrowing referendum for a $7.8 million running track and sports field at Okanagan College

No date has been selected but the process for a sports complex referendum is underway.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee decided Thursday to form an ad hoc committee to explore the steps needed for a borrowing referendum for a $7.8 million running track and sports field at Okanagan College.

“We’re at the initial stages and someone needs to sit down and look at the issue,” said Trafford Hall, Regional District of North Okanagan administrator.

As part of the ad hoc committee, staff will consider legislative requirements for a referendum, timelines and a budget to give a referendum the highest potential for success.

Also investigated will be bringing community groups on board prior to a vote.

It’s not known if a borrowing referendum could be held this year.

“I’d only be guessing,” said director Jim Garlick when asked.

Garlick points out that GVAC must determine funding priorities because there are other potential capital works to consider.

“Every time you open the public purse, there are people running forward with their projects,” he said.

The Agricultural Land  Commission agreed to a non-farm use on the 5.8 hectares in November but it has stipulated the facility be developed within three years.

Preliminary designs include an Olympic-size rubberized track, a lighted artificial playing field, a field house and bleachers.

Hall says staff will keep elected officials aware of the process leading up to a potential referendum.

“It’s very important that the regional district board be united on this. If you go to referendum, you can’t have an individual director speaking against,” he said.