Columbia Valley (CV) directors of the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) met on February 3.
During the Governance and Recreation meeting, CV directors discussed the current situation surrounding the Village of Canal Flats arena and Electoral Area F.
The Canal Flats arena has need upgrades for quite some time now, and Canal Flats council has applied for a grant from Towns for Tomorrow to go towards them.
Chief Administration Officer Brian Woodward had said, during a Canal Flats council meeting on January 24, that “the flooring is a major issue.
“We need to start the [upgrading] project as soon as possible. If we don’t start by at least 2012, we may fail.”
As it now stand with the CV Directors, the required upgrades and capital improvements cost of this project may exceed $1 million.
There is also a second concern regarding some of the tax inequities of this project.
The service area for the Canal Flats’ arena includes Canal Flats, and a small portion of Area F.
The property owners in this part of Area F pay a higher amount of taxes per $1,000 of assessed value for recreational services than the rest of the Area F residents.
These residents pay into the Columbia Valley Recreation Service area, which funds the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena in the District of Invermere.
“As we are trying to figure out options for the Canal Flats’ arena, in the back of some people’s minds we have also been pondering and wondering if there is any potential for a ‘sub-region’ or Valley-wide approach to managing, funding, and potentially expanding recreational services, and whether this is a desirable option,” said District of Invermere Director Gerry Taft.
“The ‘inequity’ of the service areas is a direct result of the number of people living in each respective service area,” said Village of Canal Flats Director Ute Juras. “The Columbia Valley Service area has a much larger tax base to draw on than the Canal Flats Service area.”
CV directors have also been investigating the topic of “regional governance”.
This began as the concept for a “Valley-wide municipality”.
Based on the information from, and insistence from the Province that this would not be feasible to even investigate because of the costs of maintaining the roads,
CV directors have instead spent time investigating the possibility of establishing some form of “commissions” under the Regional District to help provide more governance for the Columbia Valley.
After reviewing a report on a facilitated meeting regarding the “commission model” of governance, and considering the interest in the recreational services in the valley, CV directors unanimously approved to put further consideration of the regional governance and the commission model on hold.
It was approved for staff to report back at the March meeting how much time and money it would take to do an informal service review of the recreational and park services, and the potential to combine these for the entire valley.
“The Canal Flats recreation facilities were built exclusively by volunteers with the material being donated by Crestbrook Industries (now Tembec).
“The volunteers at the time all worked at the mill and a large number lived in a trailer court which is now known as Columbia Ridge.
“This explains the reasoning for the boundaries,” said Juras.
“Things have changed since then and that is why we feel that a service review is appropriate at this time.
‘The review could look at all the options that have been presented thus far, such as amalgamation of the entire valley, moving the boundary, taxation, etc.
“I’m hoping the board recognizes the need and will agree to a service review.
“If we opt not to go ahead with the review, the alternative would be to continue with the status quo, which would not make the residents in the Area F portion of the service area very happy.” Juras adds