Over the past few months, I have heard a few different points of opposition towards the proposed sports facility.
I would like to speak to some of the major points in this letter:
1. We don’t need it: False, we do need it, and have needed it for many years. Track athletes do not have a proper track to train on. The oval at Polson Park is not regulation size and is dirt. It also doesn’t have any throw sectors. Football has never had a proper facility for playing or practicing on. The Polson field was the closest thing when there were football uprights and a tiny room under the old grandstand for changing in. As you probably know, the grandstand burned down quite a few years ago and the field was not regulation size for football anyway.
2. It’s at the wrong location: I disagree. That is a great location, right next to the college and just off a major highway. There is existing parking already, and Okanagan College donated the land for this project at a value of $737,000 ($1 a year lease). Some people say it’s too windy up there. However, wind studies were completed and have all come in at reasonable levels. The numbers don’t lie. Other locations were considered, but this location was found to be the best option.
Most people believe that Kin Race Track would be the better option. However, most people also know that Kin Race Track has been in litigation with the Okanagan Equestrian Society and the City of Vernon for quite some time and it looks like it will continue to be for many more years to come. In addition, developing the Kin site would be considerably more expensive, considering the grander scope of that project and the purchasing of land adjoining the Kin site necessary to make it happen.
3. It’s too much money: $7.5 million is not a small amount of money. However, you get what you pay for. This facility will have the top-of-the-line Mondo track, dubbed the fastest track in the world. It is exceptional quality and I am a believer in the saying, “pay now or pay later.” By going with a quality surface now, we will save money in the future with repair and replacement costs of a lesser quality track.
The facility will also have a synthetic field, which allows the benefit of much higher use when compared to natural grass fields. It will be a lighted field that allows for evening games and practices. It will also have two buildings with four change rooms, a classroom/meeting room, washrooms and more. It will be a state-of-the-art facility with everything needed to host provincial level competitions. Such competitions have the potential of bringing millions of dollars to the businesses of our community.
4. Why cater to these small user groups?: These user groups are small for a reason, and I think not having a proper facility is one of the main reasons. How big do you think minor hockey would be if we didn’t have any ice surfaces? Do you think we would host Funtastic every year if we didn’t have a plethora of ball diamonds? I’m sure soccer saw its user group grow substantially when it built at Marshall Field.
The truth is, not just the track club, running clubs, and minor football will have the ability to use this facility. Every citizen and any user group can use it. It will be a community facility. Even if you don’t use it, you should think about how it would benefit the community. I very rarely use Wesbild Centre or the Performing Arts Centre but I’m glad they are there for those that do use and enjoy them.
I realize times are tough and people don’t want their taxes to increase. However, I believe that building a facility such as this is well worth the investment.
I can’t speak for everyone, but in my opinion $15 a year, on average per homeowner, is not a huge burden when you consider the benefits it can bring.
Vote yes on April 6 to bring this great facility to our community.