Invermere's mayoral hopefuls Al Miller and Gerry Taft answer The Echo's first weekly question.

Invermere's mayoral hopefuls Al Miller and Gerry Taft answer The Echo's first weekly question.

Two views: Recreation

Invermere Mayoral hopefuls Gerry Taft and Al Miller will weigh in on issues affecting the district each week.

The Question

“How would you like to see recreation services expand?”

AL MILLER: The question of recreational facilities and recreational directors is a topic that has been batted around for as long as I have lived here. The possibility of an expanded recreation service area would help tremendously with further out facilities such as Canal Flats arena. Now down to the question of recreation organizational changes for Invermere.

My answer is going to be quite simple: Let’s think about all the different sports and recreation, and hire a co-ordinator to manage and co-ordinate facilities that we currently have with all the different activities available. This could mean one number to call for booking facilities, and your registration into recreational activities of your choice.

We have far too many volunteers spending hours on administration when they would be far happier being involved in the activity of their choice. This co-ordinator could then start to enhance programs as time permitted.

My longer-term vision includes a newer recreation centre with added ice area and pool. Yes, I said pool. I know we have hot springs to the north, and lake and hot springs south of us, but our community needs a proper pool area here. We have an aging population where water fitness and exercise is the best. We have groups and individuals who could put such a facility to tremendous use. We have many different fitness organizations that desperately need proper space to function.

Proper planning and forward thinking could bring this to reality. This would help attract enterprising individuals to our area. Economic development.




GERRY TAFT: The intention with Columbia Valley Recreational review is to find out if there are better ways to fund, maintain, and program existing recreational facilities.

One of the first expansions of service being considered is centralized bookings, administrative support, and recreational programming. This will ensure that the existing recreational facilities in and around Invermere are being fully utilized and could provide the framework for funding and managing new facilities in the future. In addition to the program co-ordination, I am advocating for expanded support for the Whiteway and other winter uses on Lake Windermere. There are a lot of exciting opportunities to enhance the recreational pursuits on Lake Windermere in the winter, and offer both structured and unstructured activities. There is even the opportunity to get our lake in the Guinness book of world records as the longest maintained ice surface!

There is strong interest in having a new recreational centre, ideally this would allow more space for groups like the Valley Fitness centre, the gymnastics club, the roller derby team and others. It is important that such a facility is regionally supported and fits within a valley wide perspective on recreation.  Based on current financial realities and the present divisions in recreational services, it is going to take time before we can bring the concept of any new facility forward to the public for consideration in a referendum. Realistically, I see serious consideration of any new facility being at least three years away.