Sports complex question on track

Behind-the-scenes details have been firmed up for Greater Vernon’s spring referendum.

Behind-the-scenes details have been firmed up for Greater Vernon’s spring referendum.

Regional District of North Okanagan directors adopted the question Wednesday that will go before voters April 6. Residents will be asked to authorize the borrowing of $7.5 million to construct a sports complex at Okanagan College, with the funds repaid over 20 years.

“Things are in place to go forward,” said Patrick Nicol, chairperson.

“It’s an important juncture in recreation history for Greater Vernon.”

It was also decided Wednesday that instead of people voting in their specific jurisdictions, residents will be able to cast ballots at any of the three polling stations (Priest Valley Gym, BX Elementary and Coldstream Elementary).

“This is a community project and the vote will be a community decision,” said Jeanne Byron, corporate officer, of the move towards a voting-at-large structure.

On Thursday, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee agreed to pursue grants for the project.

“If we don’t do it, we won’t get a grant,” said director Jim Garlick.

The agencies being targeted are Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust and the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition.

“Even if we get a roofed seating area, that’s a good thing,” said Garlick.

Advance polling will be held March 27 and April 3 at the Schubert Centre, the Coldstream municipal office and the regional district office.

The pace of public awareness about the referendum and the need for the facility is also being enhanced.

New brochures have been printed, while large posters will be installed at high-profile locations and a website is updated regularly.

Supporters are also speaking to service clubs and there will be open houses at the Village Green Centre before April 6.

But directors believe there is some information that still needs to be emphasized.

“There is debt being retired to the tune of $6.5 million over the next three years,” said director Bob Fleming, adding that will help offset the impact of borrowing $7.5 million.

There have been suggestions from some residents that the sports complex should go to Kin Race Track but Nicol insists both sites are needed for recreational activities.

“Some believe it’s an either or but Kin and this property are part of our (long-term) plans,” he said.