Preliminary designs for the park upgrades would see an expanded community hall

Preliminary designs for the park upgrades would see an expanded community hall

Million dollar upgrade in the works for Radium community hall

Village council hopes to see cash from Victoria fund park and hall upgrades, and create new central gathering place.

Plans for a re-vamped Legends Field, modernized community centre and village square are headed to Victoria, as Radium Hot Springs makes its pitch for a community recreation grant from the provincial government.

Mayor Dee Conklin says discussions about upgrading the community hall have been ongoing for the past term, but the possibility of new grant money from the province has sped up the village’s plans for a revamp.

“It’s fully safe, but it’s old and we were concerned about just bringing it up to a standard that the new generation wants,” she says. The subject also came up often as the village was developing its new Official Community Plan.

“People were saying ‘we’d love to see it updated and get more use.'”

The park and hall upgrades would see Legends Field retain its ball park, rink and bandshell, but would bring in upgraded playground equipment (including a water park), add a bocce or horseshoes court and feature new water/ice slides.

Community hall upgrades would include a new addition featuring a patio, and make space in the building’s lower level for the Radium Public Library and other community programming.

“The basic concept is to free up and make useful that entire ground floor,” Mark Read, village CAO, told the new Radium council at its inaugural meeting December 7.

“There’ll be room for a library, potential rental space for people like yoga instructors, community rental space possibly for day care use.”

The upper floor would be modernized, allowing the village to host events of up to 400 people — such as the annual Classic Car Show dance — with a new kitchen and patio and deck space.

The village square would sit between the ice rink and the revamped community hall.

Costs for the park upgrades are still being determined, while work on the community hall is expected to cost around $1 million.

The village hopes to fund at least a portion of the project using B.C.’s Community Recreation Program, through which the village is allowed to back one grant application.

According to application documents from the province, the $30 million granting program will dole out up to 80 per cent of funding for capital projects that “make communities healthier, more active places in which to live.”

Though there’s no cap on the amount of money a community can receive, Radium’s application will split the project into two phases.

Park upgrades, which could be accomplished in the next two years, would be phase one, while community hall improvements would be moved closer to the granting program’s final construction deadline in 2015. It’s a move Read and Conklin think will improve the village’s chances of securing funds.

“I really think there’s no question (Radium will receive funding),” Conklin says. “Especially this phase one, which is offering the playground and the spray park and areas for the kids to meet and play. That’s absolutely right up this alley. They’re outdoors, they’re playing, it’s all about recreation.”

The deadline for grant applications is December 28, and until then the village is looking for letters of support from instructors who would like to run programs in the space, were it upgraded.

“It shows we have a real need,” Read explained. “Because we do have an under used facility that’s substandard.”

Conklin says she’s expecting a positive reaction to the plan from the community, and thinks the improved park will become a popular gathering place in the village.

“Even when we put in the fitness park at the other end, the response was just immense,” she says.

“It will become much more of a focal point for Radium.”

Should the government choose to fund Radium’s proposal, village staff will plan community consultations to fine tune the plans to meet the community’s needs.