Posted by Colin Heggie on Feb 25, 2020
Dave Hoyte hosted Doug Ross, the City of Vernon’s Director of Recreation Services, to tell us about their feasibility study for a new “Active Living Centre.”  Following a 2018 recreation master plan, a statistically valid survey of residents revealed that 59% want new facilities, 16% don’t, & 25% are unsure – perhaps until they know what’s on offer.  The top choices for indoor facilities are a leisure swim pool, multi-purpose rooms, a 50m pool, fitness rooms, a walking/running track, ice arena, gymnasium, etc.  68% of respondents were willing to pay up to $100 per year in additional property taxes to fund the capital cost of constructing facilities.  Proposed options will include replacing & adding to our existing Rec Centre facilities, or building new ones on the Kin Racetrack lands.  Three rough proposals range in cost from $60m to $90m.  A new questionnaire is being developed for distribution to a representative sample of 5,000 residents, asking for more detailed information about wants, needs, willingness to pay, etc.  The ongoing annual costs of operation & maintenance will also need to be considered, as will the timing of financing & construction vis-à-vis our proposed new cultural centre & needed improvements to our water system.  Doug noted that Vernon opened the interior BC’s first indoor ice rink in 1937, & first indoor civic pool in 1966.  He said it’s important to look at building efficiently for both present & future needs, & to provide amenities that will attract both new residents & visitors.