LETTER: Money was available to keep the Civic Arena open

From reader Jennifer McDonnell

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

On Jan. 22, the RDCK issued a FAQ document regarding the decision made by the Nelson and District Recreation Commission on Jan. 14 to close the Civic Arena early.

Within the document, it states that the decision was made by the provincial health officer to suspend all games, tournaments and adult ice use. It goes on to say, “When this revenue is not generated from user fees the result is an increase in taxation used to cover operations.”

The RDCK states that the result is an increase in taxation. However, the recreation commission was reminded that the RDCK received a $760,000 COVID Safe Restart grant and the City of Nelson received $2.6 million in November 2020. This was reported in the Nelson Star in November and quotes the CAO of RDCK, Stuart Horn, saying “and compensating for loss of revenue at some services during the pandemic.”

One of the uses of this grant is to offset the increased operating costs and lower revenue as a result of COVID-19. In fact, the COVID Safe Restart Grant FAQ states that for regional districts “a good starting point would be to examine services that would be impacted by COVID-19, e. g. recreation and community centres.”

Knowing that the RDCK has received this grant money, I question the justification to close the Civic Arena early.

I have grave concerns regarding the RDCK reporting that any continued loss of revenue will be put on the backs of taxpayers when the RDCK has already received this grant. I question why the recreation commission did not make the decision to allocate a portion of the grant to offset the operating cost to run the Civic Arena for the remainder of the season.

Invest in kids!

Jennifer McDonnell


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