LETTER: Closure of Civic Arena is short-sighted

From reader Chad Smith

Re: Castlegar’s Pioneer Arena and Nelson Civic Centre closing for season, Jan. 21

I am disappointed to learn that the RDCK is putting budget politics in front of a valued community service during this pandemic with the closing of the Civic Arena.

I believe it is short-sighted to take away the opportunity for kids to take part in the activities that they love. It is short-sighted to put your budget in front of the life-long values and confidence that these kids gain by taking part in sport. Reviewing the 2019 budget versus actual numbers from the RDCK 2020 Financial Plan shows that there are no shortage of expense categories where the RDCK exceeded their budget forecasts. I’m curious to know if the RDCK has audited these other expense categories and sought to cut and drive down these general administration costs?

In my opinion, the money to keep the Civic Arena open for these community programs is there. The RDCK just needs to pay attention to their spends across all expense categories. And where is the City of Nelson on this issue? John Dooley has ran on a platform of recreation and sport being a foundation in the community. What are your thoughts Mayor Dooley?

Nelson has a long proud heritage of hockey and sport. It really is a shame to see this decision made behind the closed doors at the RDCK without any input from the community or the facilities user groups. It’s time for the city to take control of this city-owned asset and take ownership in the providing of opportunities for the kids to learn and grow in sport.

Chad Smith


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