Long-term benefits are the key

Resident calls for a resolution to the conflict at Kin Race Track

A number of years ago, I wrote a letter to this paper’s editor and then-council members about Kin Race Track.

It went something like this. The city should approach KRT, offer to resettle its operation with financial assistance, develop said site, similar to Kamloops, McArthur Island Park sports complex, including a first-class track and field facility which we now know has gone way over budget on a $7.5 million investment.

Not to point out that it’s in the wrong location. Most Vernonites did not support this endeavor. The bulk carrying the vote was outside the city.  That’s another story.

Back to my point.  About five years ago, Al McNiven, now retired, and his team at Regional District of North Okanagan created a couple displays showing very comprehensive usage of Kin Race Track.

If memory serves me, it incorporated  track and field, soccer fields, a BMX track, a gymnastic facility, ball fields, another ice sheet and other attributes.

I believe the city is going to face an uphill battle over a second sheet of ice at Kal Tire Place. By the way, I coach hockey and still play. I would like nothing better than a second sheet at this location similar to the two ice surfaces in Salmon Arm’s side-by-side venues.

I even noted to then-councillors that I would welcome a tax increase on my home to move KRT and develop said site into a multi-sports complex.

Now we find ourselves confronted with the art gallery and museum scrambling for additional funds which could conflict with money for the new ice surface.

A suggestion is to kill three birds with one stone, actually four. Pursue a fair settlement with KRT and pitch the community on having the art gallery and museum incorporated into the master sports complex plan developing KRT.

You have a central location. You have parking. You have nearby shopping and accommodations.

You’re going to have visitors who are not sports-oriented now having options to visit the gallery and museum if they’re not interested in sitting or standing in a sports venue.

The horse people will appreciate the city’s efforts to help them relocate.  Maybe there’s an opportunity at O’Keefe Ranch. That’s a natural.  It also benefits the ranch.

This will be a huge investment similar to the performing arts centre and library, and will accommodate all parties.

Yes there will be those whose ox is going to be gored. It’s the big picture that’s important.

Those planning need to present the taxpayers with options, costs and most importantly, the long-term benefits for the community for such a huge investment at this time. It’s not for us grandparents but our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.

Think long-term benefits.

Joe O’Hearn

Vernon