Greater Vernon politicians were right not to leave planning for the sports complex in the hands of regional district staff and user groups.
It’s not that civic workers or the sports clubs aren’t capable, but it is the elected officials who are directly accountable to the residents — the ones who are paying for the $7.5 million facility.
And if the project goes over budget or doesn’t meet expectations, then it is Greater Vernon Advisory Committee members who will be called on to the carpet.
“The people who will wear it are the people sitting around this table,” said Doug Dirk, a Coldstream councillor.
It may not be a common process elsewhere, but it is here.
A management committee of politicians oversaw construction of Wesbild Centre and the Performing Arts Centre and that structure was also followed for Coldstream’s fire halls and public works building. Politicians also led the development of Vernon’s new library.
By playing an active role, those on the management committee can report back directly to other politicians in the region about how construction is proceeding. One can also make the argument that a resident with an idea or concern may find it easier to approach their elected representative than a bureaucrat.
Now, of course, the politicians won’t be acting in isolation. GVAC staff will be there to provide expertise on a number of fronts and user groups will provide input on the design.
But, in the end, residents were told by the politicians that the project would be a success, so now those officials must live up to their end of the deal.
—The Morning Star