EDITORIAL: Tough decision awaits GVAC

Directors must balance ensure sports complex meets community needs while recognizing financial pressures

The pressure facing Greater Vernon politicians is significant.

They are tasked Thursday with trying to ensure a proposed sports complex is what the community requires long-term while recognizing the present financial pressures facing taxpayers.

“We have to balance out the best facility and what can be sustained by the community,” said director Rob Sawatzky.

There’s no question the current $8.5 million price tag is steep, and must be balanced against potential expenditures like an art gallery, a museum and water treatment upgrades, as well as the ongoing infrastructure demands of roads, sidewalks and sewer.

There is only one taxpayer and if it’s not apparent that elected officials have taken that into account, an April referendum on the sports complex could be a fiasco.

However, cutting the budget for the sake of cutting isn’t the right approach.

If a sports complex is to proceed, the goal will be having a facility that may not make money, but will be viable and not constantly in the red. If events are to be booked and tournaments, such as the B.C. Summer Games, are to be drawn to Vernon, then the facility must address a number of interests and activities.

Spending a bit more initially may also be the best use of taxpayers’ dollars in the long-term. Natural grass is cheaper to install and maintain but it wears out even after a few games and must be left idle at times. A synthetic surface costs more but the wear-and-tear is minimal.

Hopefully our elected officials have been considering the options carefully over the holidays.

Because whatever decision they ultimately make, there could be far-reaching implications for residents now and in the future.