The future of recreation in Nelson and how it can be improved is mapped out in an extensive report released this week in a collaboration between the city’s sports organizations.
Twenty six recommendations were made in the report by the Nelson and District Recreation Facilities Task Force, which was made up of 25 representatives from recreation, culture and community organizations as well as municipal and regional government staff.
The report, which is focused on the campus of facilities that include the Civic Centre, the curling club, the Nelson and District Community Complex (NDCC) and the indoor soccer field, covers a wide variety of topics. It can be read in full below.
Macro recommendations, for example, include the need for centralized facilities management, while the report also looks at the finer details of the buildings with suggestions such as building a female dressing room in the Civic Arena.
Recreation co-ordinator C.J. Blye, who led the task force through 10 meetings that began in February, said Tuesday the report’s contributors worked to keep recommendations financially realistic.
“No one is saying knock down the walls and start again,” said Blye. “They are saying we are using these facilities day in, day out, and they are lacking in certain services. They do not accommodate the needs of the users as best they could, and this is how we could fix those within the realm of possibilities in terms of budgets.”
The report is divided into six priorities that begin with the need for reorganization at the regional level in order to make management consistent for every group using the campus. That might seem dull, but it tackles longstanding confusion over who user groups should speak to about, for example, rent increases or who has final say over ice allocation.
“We have a wide variety of facilities and agreements and partnerships, and that’s fantastic, but it does pose some confusion for our recreation users and groups that are within these facilities,” said Blye.
“So having one managing group to oversee facilities, that doesn’t mean that they are taking over control of how curling is operated or how the Civic Theatre is operated, but having one go-to would be important.”
Other priorities include: hiring a consultant to create a redevelopment plan for the campus; ongoing Civic Centre renovations that consider, for example, accessibility; expanding current services offered by the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK), which manages the NDCC; reconsideration of space allocation to meet community needs; and better connectivity between the NDCC and Civic Centre in terms of architectural needs as well as shared programming.
Put more simply, a lot of work needs to be done. But Blye said it’s all feasible.
“I think that there is money that needs to be spent for sure in some of our recreation facilities, but there’s a lot that can be done within the community and within the resources we have to move forward on a lot of the recommendations,” she said.
The task force has no decision making power, which means its implementation is now up to the city and the RDCK, the latter of which manages the NDCC and Civic Arena.
Valerie Warmington, a city councillor and chair of the recreation commission, said the next step will be to prioritize what can be done in the short term and how any changes might be funded.
“It’s a big report and it is going to take the commission some time to work through it,” said Warmington, “but I think it’s full of some great ideas and some really good priorities for us to consider. … This won’t collect dust on my watch, I promise.”