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City’s venerable ice surface will be staying open for new season under new management

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
September 16th, 2016

The city’s oldest ice surface isn’t going to be shut down and it will, instead, enter a new era of operation this fall, says the chair of the Nelson and District Recreation Commission No. 5.

Val Warmington said the Civic Arena will be under new supervision this season after the Nelson Sports Council stepped aside from its operations earlier this year.

The city has arranged for the Nelson and District Recreation Commission No. 5 — that also operates the Nelson and District Community Complex — to take over its operation and run both of the city’s arenas beginning this fall.

Although the sports council noted in spring that usage of the Civic Arena has been spiraling downward over the years, this year is really going to tell if the city can manage to afford two ice sheets, Warmington said.

“Our goal is to really ensure efficient use of those sheets of ice and hope that it works out that we can maintain both of them. And I’m pretty confident that we can, actually,” she said.

The positive thing about having the two ice surfaces under one management umbrella is ice usage can be “rationalized.” Previously there was no communication between the arena managers so they weren’t optimizing use, said Warmington.

“With both ice sheets being managed by the same organization we will see more optimal use of those resources,” she said.

There won’t be any changes at the beginning at the Civic Arena, said Warmington, but a new position created in July will be working with all of the arena user groups to see what their needs are and ensure the services meet the user groups’ needs.

In July the Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors approved the creation of a recreation coordinator position at the NDCC for a one-year term position to develop opportunities for increased revenues, the development of a Nelson and District Recreation Facilities Task Force, and the study of best practices for Nelson and District recreation facilities.

“(The coordinator) will be a liaison of all of the user groups and see what their needs are, and push forward the recommendations of the recreation master plan in ways that suit and reflect the user groups’ needs,” said Warmington.

The city has applied for grants under the Canada 150 program to upgrade the Civic Arena’s electrical, put on a new roof, remediate the remaining mould in the building, seal up any water seepage and continue to repair benches.

But the arena is a heritage building, said Warmington, and is only one of three wide span arenas left in Canada.

“So there is a real heritage value to that building and we certainly want to restore it and we want to protect our asset,” she said.

“Beyond that we also recognize a lot of people are really attached to it and love playing on that ice and certainly we want to see that continue. That is our goal.”

Nelson Commons affordable housing

City council has passed a housing agreement that will enable the creation of two restricted resale units at Nelson Commons, providing an opportunity for individuals or households — including persons with disabilities or low income families — to enter the housing market, and potentially move up the continuum as their circumstances improve.

At the May 4, 2015 city council meeting council approved the designation of three residential units in the Nelson Commons building as restricted resale units to be sold at 25 per cent below market value.

At the Aug. 29, 2016 special council meeting council considered the city’s legal counsel during an in-camera council meeting. Council rescinded third reading of the bylaw as passed on Aug. 8 and passed third reading of the amended bylaw as presented on Aug. 29 to place the housing agreement on title for two of the three restricted resale units.

City staff was directed to investigate tying the future sales price of the third restricted resale unit to the consumer price index rather than 25 per cent below market value.

In order to ensure that the third restricted resale unit is subject to a housing agreement, it was recommended by the city’s legal counsel that a covenant be placed on title that restricts occupancy of the unit until such time as a housing agreement is registered on title.

The developer has agreed to the covenant, the covenant will be signed and placed on title.

For the housing agreement for the third unit, city staff will explore linking the valuation to the consumer price index and changing the term to ‘in perpetuity.’

Turning on the waterworks

The city has put in place penalties for those who look to ignore its new watering restrictions.

Under the Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw a list of penalties used by city bylaw enforcement officers when issuing bylaw notices (tickets) to persons who violate city bylaws, including new penalties relating to the city’s Water Regulatory Bylaw which was amended in July to revise watering restrictions.

Penalties are intended to deter bylaw violators while the city’s adjudication system also provides the public with a means to dispute.

Depending on what damage is done, the city has the option to either write a bylaw notice for a penalty up to $500 or, for more serious infractions, the city has the option to proceed to court where a summary conviction could result in a penalty up to $10,000.

In July city council gave final reading and adoption to an amendment to the Waterworks Regulation Bylaw that overrode historical rates of normal watering and usage conditions in the city with what had previously been stage one restrictions — instituted in times of drought at the height of summer.

The city first adopted a Waterworks Regulation Bylaw in October of 2015. But with water usage rising, and the health and longevity of the water supply in some question, the bylaw had been amended to change what were previously stage one water restrictions to be the normal condition for watering.

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