Sports complex on sidelines

Directors want update from staff on plans for borrowing referendum

There’s concern that plans for a Greater Vernon sports complex have stalled.

The Regional District of North Okanagan board agreed in May to move towards a referendum for a track and field facility next to Okanagan College. But no details about the process has surfaced since then.

“We will be asking our administrator where things are at during our next meeting,” said director Mike Macnabb. “We have  to be proactive because of timelines.”

If a referendum to borrow up to $8.5 million is held this November, legislative procedures for the  vote would have to begin soon.

Also, when the Agricultural Land Commission approved use of the site in November 2011, it stated the facility must be developed within three years.

Director Jim Garlick admits he wonders where regional district staff are with planning.

“There’s been nothing acted upon,” he said, adding he also wants some answers at Thursday’s Greater Vernon Advisory Committee meeting.

One possible reason for the delay in progress is the ongoing restructuring of the parks and recreation function.

While he agrees restructuring is taking time, Garlick says, “It’s not a reason to not move ahead on other initiatives.”

If there is a referendum this fall, considerable effort will be directed towards informing taxpayers about the project.

“I’m not sure the economy will support it at this time, but referendum is the direction we wanted to go and the question will have to be asked,” said Macnabb.

Garlick also isn’t sure how the public will respond to borrowing funds.

“I want to see what the support will be. It will be up to the community in the end,” he said.

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