Well January 2019 has been busy, challenging and still a part of a steep learning curve. I appreciate the help I have received from sitting and past directors navigating past and present issues as they both impact the future and present. January has seen the Similkameen Recreation Commission expand its members with more to join, Olalla Water Commission recently met its requirement of four members and the RDOS had the first reading of the proposed budget for 2019 (second reading on the 7th of February, budget accessed on the RDOS web page.)
January has also been augmented with further education for new Directors like myself, I was privileged to attend the “Local Government Leaders Academy” (LGLA) conference in Kelowna. Trust me it was like drinking from a fire hose! Though this also gave me an opportunity to stand up and speak in front of mayors, directors and municipal councillors to our need for a unified process pushing the provincial government to action with local government to mitigate flooding. I was also able to speak to Emergency Management B.C. about their dropping the ball when it came to assisting with a level one EOC for Hedley, this was rectified during the issue with Hedley’s water, however was still a failure of process.
The Issue that has dominated the month has been the recent grant application for the replacement of the 50-year-old Keremeos pool. As with all issues there is differing points of view, differing priorities and competing concerns, what is most important is that the community makes the final decision.
It’s the responsibility of the local government to gather all the facts from staff and professional consultants with possible outcomes good, bad or otherwise on all options so you can make an informed choice. We are at this time asking for a break down on all options and their risks and cost.
Through your input we will find the best way to provide you information that is accessible and timely. The RDOS has only now made application for a Grant totalling 73.3% of the gross cost for the replacement of the old pool with a modern, larger more accessible pool and change facilities that meet the needs of multi-generations and those with physical limitations at the Rec. Center site. This was the option approved by the Similkameen Recreation Commission with the information that was updated by RDOS earlier that day.
Moving a pool off the ever increasing water table will keep it safe from high water damage that has caused issue annually, consolidating it at the Rec. Centre will decrease overhead cost of operating two sites while helping to augment the other activities at the Rec. Centre. It was also made clear to us that any pool renovations made at the existing pool location would only be a Band-Aid and could not guarantee longevity. My major concern is that whatever option is decided upon, that it will leave enough in our reserves to deal with our other responsibilities in community recreation.
There are lots of positive steps being made in recreation like the after school programs and the mobile activity trailer which goes to Hedley, Cawston and other communities that cannot access recreational programs. These types of initiatives need to be safe guarded. If you have any questions about the Similkameen Rec Centre I’m sure Shane would love to tell you about all the exciting developments in community recreation (250-499-2400).
As I draw this reflection on January 2019 to a close, I look forward to your input in our community’s priorities as we move forward.
On Feb., 4 I will be at the Grist mill, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Area G Director RDOS
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