I was pleased that the referendum for the new community hall passed. It was a statement that the majority of Invermere residents want to see our town move forward with up-to-date facilities that enhance our quality of life.
It has come to my attention that council has made some decisions in regards to the new facility that are not in the best interest to the taxpayers of Invermere nor the regional district. One would assume the priorities of a community hall would be first to provide adequate space to enable community and public events to be held, such as the Big Band Dance, Fireman’s Ball, Rod and Gun Club Banquet, plays and concerts, and community dances, and secondly, to provide new space for public community services that can be centralized in one location.
Our mayor and councillors apparently have something else in mind — instead of providing space in this new publicly funded building for public institutions, they plan to have the first “tenant” be a private business. They then plan to have this private business run the new community centre, though I believe they might run into some conflict with the town CUPE workers. At present, the town employees are responsible for the bookings, access and maintenance of the community hall. Perhaps our elected officials need to be made aware of a few facts: (1) Public government buildings should be managed by government employees. These are public assets and should be kept in public control. (2) The new community hall is for public use and not private business. The priority of occupancy should be first and foremost public services — the municipal library and town offices. (3) The Columbia Valley Fitness Centre is a non-profit business with an annual membership fee of $500. It is in direct competition with other private fitness-related businesses in our town. (4) The municipal library provides FREE services to over 1,900 active members and is a public institution.
Perhaps it is a good time for the people who use the municipal library to let the municipal councillors and mayor know what our priorities are in regards to the new community hall. You can find their email addresses on the District of Invermere website.
Bob Walker, Invermere