EDITORIAL: Public requires open process

Referendum is over and Greater Vernon is getting a $7.5 million sports facility, however, the real hard work is just beginning

The referendum is over and Greater Vernon is getting a $7.5 million sports facility.

However, the real hard work is just beginning.

Obviously, that will include hammering out firm design details and hiring contractors so the track and fields can be constructed by November 2014.

But, given that 47 per cent of those who voted opposed borrowing funds, the most critical task ahead of the Regional District of North Okanagan is ongoing public education.

And given many of the post-referendum comments on The Morning Star website, concerns still exist about the location of the facility, the price tag, the need and how it rose to the top of the priority list when there are many infrastructure projects in the community.

Director Mike Macnabb admits the ongoing need for public awareness.

“I’m surprised at how little knowledge people had of the process and why it won’t be at Kin Race Track,” he said.

With tax money at play, there has to be some comfort level that those dollars are being invested wisely and efficiently. Residents need to be provided regular updates on construction and that the budget is being strictly adhered to.

They also need to be provided with more information on the potential of the facility and exactly who will be using it. A  very public process is also required when there are bids for tournaments and large events. There has to be some confidence that promises of economic development come close to fruition.

In the end, a majority of participating voters spoke Saturday. But it’s critical to remember that those opposed must have their concerns addressed.