Sports complex faces cuts

A proposed running track is being sent back to the starting block.

A proposed running track is being sent back to the starting block.

An April 6 borrowing referendum for a sports complex will proceed but the exact figure is unknown because the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee wants to trim costs.

“This exercise could be beneficial in getting it accepted by the community more,” said director Jim Garlick.

The committee had previously agreed to borrow up to $8.5 million although the existing plan for a track and sports field is $7.5 million.

A number of residents have expressed concerns about the price tag.

“We have to balance the wish list with the ability of the community (to pay),” said director Rob Sawatzky.

Garlick says GVAC has been focused on restructuring the parks service and now is the time to concentrate on the referendum.

“This has got away from us a little and we’re getting back on track. We still want to provide a good facility,” he said.

As part of the review process, any changes to the project must meet the terms of the lease agreement with Okanagan College, which owns the site.

Options may include removing items from the proposal, reducing the scope of the project or phasing in  some items at a later date.

“I’d rather grow something rather than say this is our big plan and it doesn’t take off,” said Garlick of the current plan possibly not being successful at referendum.

Staff has been instructed to look at the costs of similar facilities in Kelowna and Kamloops.

The requirement for off-site works, such as sidewalks and storm sewer, will also be negotiated with the District of Coldstream.

GVAC staff and facility proponents have already been promoting the referendum. That will continue, but a firm dollar figure will not be provided to residents.

A decision on the scope and cost of the complex will be required soon as bylaws triggering the referendum must be adopted by Jan. 16.

“It’s time sensitive and we have to move forward,” said Mike Macnabb, chairperson.