Council finalizes proposed indoor facility location at Balment Park

City to offer space between BMX track and curling centre as affected parties work out compromises

The ongoing saga of a proposed indoor sports facility at Balment Park took another turn in council chambers on Monday night.

Coun. Ron Popoff authored a two-part motion to rescind an earlier council decision that placed the indoor facility on the footprint of the existing BMX track and brought forward a formerly debated location between the track and the curling centre.

At the last council meeting three weeks ago, council passed a motion sponsored by Mayor Lee Pratt to reconsider a decision made on March 25th that placed the indoor facility on the existing BMX track, citing ‘new information’.

The proposed facility is envisioned to be 2,600 square metres of indoor heated floor space on artificial turf that can cater to a number of different sports besides soccer, such as baseball, lacrosse and football.

While fundraising efforts have been spearheaded by volunteers associated with the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association (KEYSA), other organizations such as the Rocky Mountain Bandits baseball program and the Rocky Mountain Rams football program, among others, are in support of the project.

However, proposed locations for the facility at Balment Park have raised some concerns by groups such as the Cranbrook Bike Skills Society and the Sam Steele Society, who were worried about the facility’s encroachment to the BMX track and the loss of green space for community events.

“We’ve now since learned that we’re pretty confident that Option 6 is where the parties are satisfied with,” said Popoff. “There is some give-and-take by all parties, not just those two, but I think we’ve landed there.

“By putting this motion forward and approving it today, it now gives staff the time, which is a critical window of time, to get the Letter of Intent and License of Occupancy in place so KEYSA can meet their time deadline to order the design that they need to order.”

Popoff’s motion passed by a vote of 5-1, with Pratt opposed due to his concerns that the location in between the track and the curling centre could still potentially impact some affected user groups.

The second motion was slightly amended by Pratt, who successfully led a vote to remove a clause from the second motion stating that no work should be done at the site until after Sept. 1 and the BMX season.

City staff also added that construction wasn’t likely to begin until after September regardless, given some of the pre-construction work that needs to occur beforehand.

The process now moves to signing a Letter of Intent and a License of Occupation with KEYSA, which will come back to council for final approval.

While all user groups within Balment Park don’t get everything they want out of the proposed location between the BMX track and the curling centre, staff noted that compromises between major parties were made.

“The preference from the KEYSA perspective and the BMX perspective is, they wanted to do whatever they could do to remain at that location,” said Chris New, the Director of Community Services, “so the compromises, in their opinion, were acceptable to stay at the location preferred.”

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