Great news on recreation front

On February 24, Recreation Commission No. 5 gave the green light to locating the outdoor skate park on the grounds of the Nelson and District Community Complex. Yes, you read the first sentence correctly. Go ahead and reread it if it hasn’t quite sunk in. 

The enormity of this seemingly small decision is a culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work by volunteers, staff people and individual supporters. It has been a long road to this point and there are details to be worked out, but this recommendation will go to the RDCK board of directors for approval at their next meeting.

To refresh your memory, a few months ago staff was directed to bring back a service analysis report on the proposed location. It was one of the most thorough and extensive reports the commission has seen which made coming to a decision much clearer. 

The biggest concern raised was the ongoing cost of operation, but the research provided by staff indicates that these costs are very modest averaging up to $1,200/year. The costs can be offset through the programming of skate lessons and events. As well, volunteers have pledged to assist with maintenance and ongoing support which will also offset expenses. 

I have no doubt that the volunteers who have worked so long and hard to make this a reality will continue past the fundraising stage to build the park and move on to participating in its operation and maintenance. The partnership between the skate park society, the Nelson and District Youth Centre and the Nelson and District Community Complex will ensure the success of this new recreational amenity.

Also of note is the fact that in 2010 the NDCC brought in over $1,010,000 from its own programming. This figure is a combination of drop-in fees, program fees and memberships. 

This was the first year that any facility in the regional district brought in over $1 million based upon the complex’s own programming. 

In addition, rentals brought in over $280,000 bringing the total revenue from non-tax or grant sources to just over $1,290,000. This figure represents a cost recovery of 40 per cent overall.  

The figures do not include taxation at $2.5 million, payments from the Nelson Regional Sports Council, and payments from the City of Nelson for Gyro Park or any other grants that were received. 

A few years ago the NDCC was in a deficit situation. This turnaround is a remarkable achievement for the entire staff team and the recreation commission. The recreation commission has just approved its budget for 2011-12 with virtually no taxation increase. The budget will next be referred to the RDCK             board of directors for approval. 

City council will reconvene this week to review comments from the community regarding the overall proposed budget. 

Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond and to those of you who attended the public open house to listen and give your feedback. Your insights are welcomed and appreciated.

Deb Kozak is a Nelson city councilor who shares a column in the Star with her council colleagues.