Vipers support ice twinning plan

Greater Vernon residents are being urged to think of broad-based community interests when they head to the polls Saturday

Greater Vernon residents are being urged to think of broad-based community interests when they head to the polls Saturday.

Duncan Wray, owner of the Vernon Vipers junior hockey team, supports twinning of Kal Tire Place, which is the focus of the $13.2 million borrowing referendum.

“It will not benefit the Vipers significantly but for the other groups in the community, it’s a no brainer,” he said.

For Wray, a positive of twin sheets would be the ability to host a variety of sports tournaments or trade shows that fill up local hotels and restaurants.

“It’s good for the entire community.”

As an example, he says that there’s the possibility that twin sheets could lead to Vernon hosting the B.C. Hockey League showcase, which is generally held in Chilliwack because of the facilities there.

“With two sheets side-by-side, the hockey scouts can watch games all day long,” he said, adding that such an event brings people here and expands Vernon’s profile.

But economic development aside, Wray’s primary concern is ensuring that young athletes have access to proper facilities so they can excel in their chosen sport.

“It (twinning) would be the wisest thing to do because the life span at Civic Arena is limited. Throwing money at Civic would be a short-term Band-Aid,” he said.

City officials have stated that Civic’s refrigeration system could fail at any time, and there are structural concerns with the building.

“If there is no Civic, where will the kids go to play hockey or lacrosse? They can’t all go to this place (existing Kal Tire Place),” said Wray.

An advance poll will be held Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Regional District of North Okanagan office, Vernon city hall and the Coldstream municipal office.

General referendum day is Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at BX Elementary School, Coldstream Elementary School, Ellison Elementary School, Silver Star Elementary and the Vernon Recreation Complex.