Public meetings are scheduled at the end of the month to discuss a master plan for parks and recreation in Nelson and area

Input sought on Nelson rec plan

Local officials want feedback on the future of recreation in the area including $4.5 million in upgrades to the Nelson aquatic centre.

Local officials want feedback on the future of parks and recreation in the area including a proposed $4.5 million upgrade to the Nelson aquatic centre.

The regional district and recreation commission have scheduled four public meetings at month’s end to talk about a master plan two years in the making.

“The plan touches on all recreation services, not just the repairs which are getting most of the attention,” said community services manager Joe Chirico. “It’s also our parks and trails system and other indoor facilities and what we might need to do to support them throughout their lifespan.”

The plan makes 34 recommendations around recreation from Nelson to Salmo, South Slocan, and Queens Bay based on focus group meetings and telephone surveys by consultant Gary Young.

The suggestions range from improving sports fields to new youth programs, enhanced cycling and walking trails, and additional child-minding options at the Nelson and District Community Complex.

“We want to check back in with the community,” Chirico said. “We need to take the conclusions and test them with the public.”

He said faced with “insatiable desires” for public money but limited dollars, they’re trying to ensure their priorities for programming and projects match what the community considers important.

The plan also introduces the concept of a “community recreation campus,” which ties together the city-owned block that includes the aquatic centre, ice arenas, curling club, and indoor soccer field. By linking them visually and physically, the regional district hopes to increase their use.

However, the most pressing issue remains the aquatic centre upgrades, expected to be done in the summer of 2015, although the closure is now estimated to last up to eight months. The pool was closed for six months last year due to falling ceiling tiles.

“The pool is a great facility enjoyed by residents of all ages from everywhere in the greater Nelson area,” said recreation commission chair Ramona Faust. It’s important to retain the integrity of the building so it can continue to benefit the community.”

Faust says after 40 years, the pool is showing its age and its mechanical system is long overdue for an overhaul. Aging and loose tile in the pool and on the deck is also “of paramount concern.”

The master plan can be viewed here.

Dates and times of the meetings are listed below. Consultant Gary Young and architect Bruce Carscadden will make presentations, followed by a question and answer session.

Monday, April 28: 5 to 7 p.m., Nelson and District Community Complex arena concourse

Tuesday, April 29: 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Senior Citizens Association, 717 Vernon Street, Nelson

Tuesday, April 29: 7 to 9 p.m., Balfour Hall

Wednesday, April 30: 6 to 8 p.m.: Mount Sentinel Secondary School, South Slocan

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