Indoor soccer centre proposal prepares for feasibility and planning study
The quest for an indoor sports facility for the Nelson Soccer Association has received a kick from the regional district.
The Regional District of Central Kootenay board of directors voted in favour of approving a $5,000 grant — from the Nelson and District Recreation Commission No. 5 budget — to fund a feasibility and planning study for an indoor facility.
The commission — which includes the City of Nelson, electoral area F and part of electoral area E — governs a region larger than Nelson, which was a point raised in October, 2022 by then Nelson mayor John Dooley.
When the NSA appeared before council asking for help, he suggested going to the regional district to help get the ball in play for a new $3.4 million indoor soccer dome, considering the larger tax base.
“I don’t want to speak for the other taxpayers, but I can tell you right now that for $3.4 million, I would vote for that … because if you were to spread that out in your catchment area, that would not be a big ticket item for the average taxpayer to deliver this product,” Dooley explained.
NSA’s Tim Wooldridge said he liked it when the city’s mayor characterized the proposal as “doable,” but it was a struggle to find land in Nelson for such a large project.
The NSA’s current winter facility doesn’t have the capacity that meets the needs of its membership, Wooldridge said, with 835 youth players and 249 adult players in the NSA in 2022.
The study, which will be conducted by RC Strategies, will identify primary and secondary program components, potential sites, as well as impacts on existing facilities, capital and operating financial implications, and recommend a course of action.
No to new commission
The Nelson and District Recreation Commission No. 5 has said no to a request for the establishment of a recreation and sports development commission.
After an email dated Dec. 14, 2020 from Bill McDonnell for the establishment of a recreation and sports development commission, on Feb. 24, 2021 the commission sent a letter of acknowledgement stating the commission could not consider any additions to the scope of the services in 2021 due to a service review taking place at the time.
With the service review for RDCK Service S226 — recreation facility Nelson and areas F and defined E — complete, the commission considered this request from McDonnell at its April, 2023 meeting.
“Staff does not currently have the resources to complete this request,” was the regional district staff recommendation.
RDCK staff recommended “that Nelson and District Recreation Commission take no further action on the request from Bill McDonnell regarding the establishment of a recreation and sports development commission as the commission does not have capacity to take on this work.”
Adding another seat
The recreation commission could consider adding another seat to its commission at its monthly meeting later this May.
The commission will be going back to provide direction on a response to the Nelson Regional Sports Council’s request for a seat at commission table.
The next Nelson and District Recreation Commission meeting is scheduled for May 31 at 9 a.m. and will be a hybrid meeting held in the RDCK board room with remote meeting access through WebEx.
Getting along swimmingly
The regional district aquatics staff will be developing an aquatics summer programming schedule that permits partial opening of the Nelson and District Community Complex Aquatic Centre and Gyro Park Pool.
The draft of the schedule will be circulated to commissioners (on the rec 5 commission) for feedback before finalization.
A growing shortage of lifeguards in the region has resulted in the reduction of operating hours at the three indoor swimming pools the RDCK operates.
Those reduced hours are shared daily on each facility’s recorded phone greeting, on facility signs, social media and on the regional district’s website.
Current lifeguard staff have been leaving to pursue other career paths and the pools — including Nelson, Castlegar and Creston — do not have enough trained and experienced people to operate the pools at full capacity right now, said RDCK general manager of Community Services, Joe Chirico.
In July 2022 Chirico said the lifeguard shortage was the reason for the closure of the outdoor Gyro Park Pool in Nelson. The lifeguard shortage also has its origins in the pandemic, when pools across the RDCK were shut down and training and certification programs were put on hold.