There will be some excited about the news that Greater Vernon’s new sports facility will partially be open by late July. But for others, it will be no different than pouring salt into an open wound.
Many residents didn’t support construction of the track and fields next to the college right from the get-go, and among those that did, there is likely some frustration over how the project has progressed.
After all, the original plan called for the facility to be completed by the end of 2014, except for some landscaping, as part of a land use agreement with the Agricultural Land Commission. However, here we are at July 3, and the black underlay for the track is just down, and the contractors will soon be installing the low-impact surface.
On top of this, completion is further delayed because of the last-minute decision by the Regional District of North Okanagan to install showers in the washrooms. Showers were originally scrapped from the design to save some cash, but the public rightly protested that athletes are going to want somewhere to wash up.
And of course there is the fact that the financial estimates for construction have been blown apart. It was announced in March that the $7.5 million athletic park is $790,000 over budget, and then in April, $340,000 was taken out of reserves for showers if grants can’t be found.
In the end, the facility will be a tremendous asset for locals wanting to pursue sports, while the economy will get a boost from tournaments and special events.
However, the process leading up to the track may force some to reconsider financial support for future amenities on the books.