The lack of action from a task force’s recommendations from five years ago now has the Nelson Regional Sports Council aiming for direct membership in the Nelson and District Recreation Commission No. 5.
NRSC co-chair Dave McCulloch said the ability to place an NRSC representative on the commission — made up of three city councillors and two Regional District of Central Kootenay directors — would “allow the user groups in our region a voice in shaping policy that directly affects each group's members.”
He pointed to a task force that was set up five years ago by the recreation commission — paid for by the RDCK and the municipal governments of Nelson and Castlegar — that was attended by the region’s recreation user groups, as a bright spot in assisting with shaping policy.
Many of the task force’s recommendations were brought forth at the time, McCulloch noted, but to-date none have been implemented. He felt an NRSC representative on the commission would reduce the amount of dispute between the city and the regional district officials.
“During many on camera meetings within RDCK and municipalities the question as to how is this to be funded comes up frequently, and referendums suggested as an outcome causing delays and inaction,” he said. “The access to facilities and fees incurred along with subsidy policies were part of the task force recommendations.”
Nelson and District Recreation Commission No. 5 chair Keith Page said late last week in a letter to the council that someone from the NRSC must attend a few public commission meetings before a seat is considered — but an NRSC representative has yet to attend a commission meeting over the last few years, nor provide public comment on the business before the commission.
“The commission strongly believes that any user group advocating for a permanent seat on the commission should first take the opportunity to attend public commission meetings,” Page wrote.
“This allows user group representatives to understand the work being undertaken and to ask questions during the public time.”
McCulloch said the reasons given for the stalled or delayed task force recommendations was due to COVID-19, was the current explanation — and the timing of the decisions would go to referendum based on upcoming regional elections.
“That said, two (recommendations) that I am aware of are (Castlegar and District Community Complex) upgrades put out to a referendum and voted down by one small group based on the wording of the referendum,” he said. “And a solid master plan for the Cadastre Legal parcel adjacent to Mount Sentinel school, I believe, … which also went out for a referendum with no word as to the outcome as of yet.”
McCulloch said the NRSC had hoped to foster “collaboration between the RDCK and municipalities and offer insight and balance from the user groups” with a permanent seat on the commission.
“The main two recommendations currently identified were to ensure transparency as to how the user fees were established, and (how) space allocations were designated to allow these provincial and national organizations to implement programs that are affordable in our region,” he said.