Timing is everything , but…

Resident wants facilities to fit with long-term planning goals

I recall an old radio program which began with a story teaser but after a break, one heard the rest of the story, which usually had an unexpected twist from what you anticipated, so it didn’t pay to jump to conclusions.

It remains true that timing is everything whether in sports or politics, all of which we’ll get a taste of this April when a referendum on a sports complex occurs.

Official community plan reviews are also slated for review this year both in Vernon and Coldstream.

I recall the Vernon OCP community consensus was to have a socio-economic densification in the downtown core, with more retail and residential spaces; a focus on green and sustainable issues; an emphasis on a multi-functional cultural /community complex on the Elk’s site to help foster a downtown revitalization involving all age and wage groups; a desire to position new amenities like sports fields close to already existing infrastructure to encourage use of bike or walking trails and reduce our reliance on cars.

So what in the previous OCP vision has been implemented, and if not, why not?

It also begs the question of how, or if, this new stand-alone proposals fit in to the OCP?

We expect the sports supporters to rally to their cause by focusing only on the positive aspects and I wish them the best, especially since taxpayers will be asked for their long-term monetary support during the taxing month of April. Talk about timing.

Though I see both health and economic benefits to a sports track I favour it being constructed near Wesbild Centre where existing amenities and extensive tourist facilities exist.

But what I expect from elected officials is less hype and more perspective given as to the pros/cons, costs and options for this proposal so we can make an informed decision.

I am not a fan of the plunk approach to planning. I’m sure most citizens wish officials had sniffed out other more suitable sites for the sewage treatment plant and landfill way back when. Now we deal with the laws of unintended consequences for them which may be repeated I fear if we build the sports track with facilities up by the college.

The college was architecturally designed to marry harmoniously with its gullied site whereas the sports track facilities won’t. Though the track is only seasonal, there will be year ‘round repercussions with visual pollution from the blindingly bright, high track lights seen from most everywhere and while driving along Highway 97 (do you recall the OC signage even had to be dimmed?); our night sky views compromised; more paving over arable land; cars driving to and from there at all hours (4:30 a.m. anyone?); ongoing policing (since an open facility like that doesn’t just encourage wholesome pursuits) and maintenance costs; plus the high roofed grandstand will mar our stunning visuals of Kalamalka Lake while travelling south along our scenic portion of Highway 97.

Do we want any potential desecration of that viewscape as our lasting legacy? Voters need to hear the rest of the story. We can have a respectful debate amongst well intentioned citizens about this for the good of all residents, now and to come.

Let’s work together to enhance the irreplaceable, natural beauty in our area with attractive approaches and community amenities to make our home truly Greater Vernon.


B. Strube