City council voted to cover the cost of rebuilding a portion of the BMX track that will be displaced due to pending construction of an indoor sports facility at Balment Park.
Council also accepted an offer from the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association which promised to provide $10,000 in funding or in-kind services to rebuild the BMX track.
The discussion was sparked by a submitted letter from KEYSA that responded to a draft License of Occupation — the necessary legal document that will permit the use of the parkspace for the indoor facility.
Determining the costs of reconstructing the BMX track and the ensuing responsibility for covering that cost was the last outstanding issue, according to city staff. The dollar figure for rebuilding the track is still under debate.
Councillor Ron Popoff put forward a motion to accept KEYSA’s offer and resolve the final License of Occupation issues, while Councillor Mike Peabody amended the motion to ensure that the city would bear the cost of reconstructing the BMX track.
“The window is closing, the window is already at the last hour for when the contractors and KEYSA can move forward to get this in the ground this year,” said Popoff.
Council voted earlier this year to offer land at Balment Park in between the BMX track and the Cranbrook Curling Centre for the indoor facility.
Mayor Lee Pratt, the lone vote against Popoff’s motion, expressed his frustration with the process, noting that KEYSA had turned down a location at Moir Park and argued that the Balment Park location inconveniences parking at Western Financial Place and the Cranbrook Curling Centre, and displaces the Sam Steele Society and the BMX park users.
Pratt also said he wants to see the BMX track reconstructed before any work begins with the indoor sports facility.
“I cannot emphasize enough to self-interest groups of Cranbrook that we do not, as a city, operate on their timelines,” Pratt said. “We operate on our timelines that gives us the time to do our due diligence and make sure that we’ve done our homework before we jump into something without knowing the full costs and ramifications.”
“I’m not against the project; I’m against proceeding with the project not knowing what the costs are and who’s going to pay for it.”
Councillor Norma Blissett said that when it comes to costs to the taxpayer, the only issue is covering the reconstruction of the BMX track.
“With regard to the cost, what we’re talking about is the cost of moving the BMX track, not the cost of building the facility, not the cost of running the facility,” Blissett said. “That is under KEYSA’s purview to look after that. Taxpayers are not under any obligation to subsidize that facility.
“…This is a facility we’re not paying for. All we’re talking about is moving the BMX track.”
Peabody highlighted the work of the BMX group that fundraised and built the track.
“The BMX track is basically a gift that people fundraised for and gave to our city and the KEYSA sports dome is exactly the same thing,” Peabody said. “It’s a gift we’re going to get and it’s going to benefit all of our community.”
KEYSA has been fundraising for facility over the last two years and has secured roughly $1 million in donations and grants for construction that is set to being in the fall.
The facility will be an air-supported dome that features 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.