Sports complex pitched again

Agricultural Land Commission to hear proposal for facility at Okanagan College's Coldstream campus

There’s one hurdle left before Greater Vernon learns if a track and field facility will proceed.

Okanagan College representatives will make a pitch for a sports complex at the Kalamalka campus to the Agricultural Land Commission Oct. 25.

“We’ll go over the information we have provided like the depth of community support for the project,” said Allan Coyle, OC’s director of public affairs.

“We will also look at the long-term recreational needs of the community.”

In April, the ALC denied a bid for non-farm use for a running track and sports field.

The provincial agency stated that the 10 acres is suitable for agricultural uses and a community need for sports facilities hadn’t been demonstrated.

Since the spring, OC has been working with Coldstream and the Regional District of North Okanagan on another application for non-farm use in the Agricultural Land Reserve.

It’s not known when the ALC may issue a ruling.

“We would hope there will be a relatively quick disclosure on a decision,” said Coyle, adding that the facility would have a clear benefit to the region.

“There would be additional recreational facilities available for college students but the campus could also develop programs that use those facilities.”

The property is located in Coldstream and Mayor Jim Garlick will participate in the presentation to the ALC board in Burnaby.

“It’s a wide group of people who will benefit from this proposal,” said Garlick.

“It’s the college and it’s different age groups. We could possibly get something going with heart attack recovery. There is high altitude training from Silver Star.”

Garlick believes the facility could also have a direct impact on the economy.

“There is the potential bid for the B.C. Summer Games and tournaments,” he said.

Wayne Lippert, Vernon’s mayor, is consulting with Okanagan College about possibly attending the presentation to the ALC.

“If there is a benefit to going, I will go,” he said of rallying the community behind the initiative.

“The city wants to support the project.”

If the ALC gives its approval to the facility, the next step would likely be a Greater Vernon referendum in the spring to borrow funds for the $7.8 million project.

“That would be an opportunity to get information out to the public,” said Garlick.