Ball park, Flats arena seeking upgrade cash

New trails and better bathrooms are on the wish list as the RDEK, Canal Flats and Invermere look for grants to improve recreation.

The crossroads ball park could see more than $600

The crossroads ball park could see more than $600

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) has begun the process of submitting applications to the Community Recreation Grant Program for three different projects, one of which is based at the crossroads outside of Invermere.

The RDEK will apply for a $662,701.60 grant to fund upgrades to the crossroads ballpark located just outside Invermere, along with funds for an outdoor rink in Wasa and an outdoor rink in Area A, for a total application of approximately $1.2 million.

The crossroads ballpark money would be used for a number of upgrades, including safety netting, upgrades to players’ benches and spectator bleachers, field resurfacing, permanent bathrooms and night time lighting.

“The RDEK has a sort of shopping list, and depending on the level of funding we’ll be able to get certain items ticked off the list,” RDEK Manager of Environmental Services Kevin Patterson said.

“With the regional district taking on the crossroads in past years we have identified the need to update that facility… we’re working with the community as well as the Lions Club and various baseball organizations to try and enhance that amenity for people in the region.”

If approved, Patterson says that they should begin to see the funds in spring and then be able to hopefully begin construction soon after. The three projects came from a list of around 10 project applications that was then narrowed down to five before the final selections were made. Other proposed projects included a trail system in Fernie and enhancements to Wycliffe Regional Park.

Separate from the RDEK application is an application from the Village of Canal Flats for approximately $800,000 for improvements to the Canal Flats Arena. An engineering plan was completed in 2008 that identified a number of improvements that could be made to the arena, including a new ice surface.

“The arena is a huge draw to the village, especially for youth,” Canal Flats administrative assistant Sylvie Hoobanoff said. “The arena is very well supported by the community.”

The grant application is meant to cover up to 80 per cent of building costs, meaning the village will have to come up with another $200,000 to cover the approximately $1 million dollar suite of upgrades.

In Invermere, district council is hoping to see the granting program cover another portion of its trail upgrade plan.

The district’s request would see about nine kilometres of bike trails and walkways created, at a value of  $688,350. The request builds off of Invermere’s Active Transportation Plan, meant to promote car-free methods of transit around the community.

So far, the district has planned and built six kilometres of its trail network, using other grants and federal stimulus cash.

“Because we’re about halfway through with the pathway plan, it seems like a really good opportunity to carry it on and get it as close as possible to being finished, and carry on to new things from there,” said councillor Spring Hawes.

The district also considered applying for a grant to create an outdoor rink at an undecided location, improvements to the Rotary ball field, or to build a bike park at the Mount Nelson Athletic Park. But with the deadline for applications on December 28, all three projects were deemed too time consuming — and in need of too much community consultation — to pull together in time.

“We’ve already begun the program,” said director of development services Rory Hromadnik.

“The plan is ready to roll. It’s a shovel-ready plan.”

The village of Radium Hot Springs has also applied for a Community Recreation Program grant. As reported in last week’s Valley Echo, it hopes to upgrade Legends Field and the community hall.

The granting program is open to regional districts and municipalities around B.C., with $30 million to be doled out by the province for construction projects that promote healthier lifestyles within communities.