Although families won’t notice any difference, fees for some out-of-town users of Nelson’s Lakeside fields will soon be eliminated.
Recreation commission chair Ramona Faust explained debt is about to be retired on the fields, built jointly by the City of Nelson and regional district areas E and F.
That money will be reassigned to the fields’ maintenance, which the rural areas haven’t contributed to, leaving the city with sole responsibility for their upkeep.
“If we have substantial numbers using the fields, it makes sense that we would contribute to their maintenance,” Faust says.
Until now, Nelson Youth Soccer has provided headcounts of players from outside city limits to the regional directors, who cut cheques at $20 per head out of their community development funds. The money is paid to the soccer association and flows through to the city.
Faust, who represents Area E, including Blewett, Balfour, and Procter, says it adds up: her last annual bill was about $2,700, while Area F director Ron Mickel paid around $3,700. Other directors, such as those representing the Slocan Valley, East Shore, and rural Salmo also receive bills, but by contrast they’re in the hundreds of dollars each.
“It’s always been such a delicate thing because we paid 40 per cent of the construction of the fields, whereas the other rural areas didn’t, yet we were also paying the largest amount in fees due to our proximity to Nelson,” Faust says. “Hopefully this retires that conversation.“
Faust added that for field users, the change is purely academic: “The players never knew. There was no differentiation between children, and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
The changeover is expected to happen this year.
Nelson Youth Soccer chair Chuck Bennett says it won’t have much effect on the organization, except they will no longer be asking the regional district for that money.
“I have always been very impressed by the level of support from the regional district and the city for our association and this is just another example,” he says. “In our eyes this makes sense and overall it is good for everyone.”
Some money will also be put toward the upkeep of Queen Elizabeth Park.