Rec meeting will gauge public opinion

The Beaver Valley Recreation Community Consultation will be held January 21 6-9pm at Fruitvale Memorial Hall.

It appears that there are few issues as close to Greater Trail resident’s hearts as what we do in our spare time and if the passion invested in the Beaver Valley recreation issue is any indication attitudes are not likely to change soon.

Plans for the upcoming Jan. 21 Beaver Valley Recreation Community Consultation are well under way and the format has been set for the public meeting, which is scheduled to run from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fruitvale Memorial Hall.

“The purpose of the meeting is to gather input for affordable, accessible, quality recreation for Beaver Valley residents,” said Ali Grieve, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) director for Area A and Beaver Valley Recreation, Parks, and Trails Committee (BVPARTS) member. “What are they looking for and what are they willing to pay for it?”

As part of the lead up to the Community Consultation, Beaver Valley residents are being asked to fill out a recreation survey intended to determine the rec services residents are using, or are interested in and what they want to pay for the services and programs.

The survey is available on the RDKB website as well as on the Village of Fruitvale and Montrose websites.

Rather than being an open microphone, town hall style gathering, the event on Jan. 21 is being planned as a facilitated, round-table format, where participants are lead through a discussion process to gather their wants and desires as to how they want their recreation services provided, and paid for, in their community.

“We don’t want it to turn into a big public debate of people saying ‘I want this,’ and another saying, ‘Well, I want this,’ that doesn’t tend to make for a productive meeting,” Grieve said. “We want an opportunity for people to share information.”

If some municipal politicians see the process as a positive step, others may not be as pleased with the situation.

Montrose Mayor Joe Danchuk attended Tuesday night’s BVPARTS committee meeting to deliver his village council’s resolution to request for the committee to reverse its decision to withdraw from the City of Trail Recreation Services Agreement.

“I’m not going to be making any comment until after the rec meeting on the 21st,” said Danchuk Wednesday. “Montrose passed a resolution that we wanted to stay in the agreement, that’s public knowledge. But I don’t want to say more than that right now.”

However, if the mayor isn’t willing to share his feelings about the tone of the discussions, some Montrose residents aren’t so reluctant.

“I think when Joe was trying to talk (at the meeting) he wasn’t being respected as a mayor, they shut him down a lot,” said Lynda Doyle, Montrose resident who attended Tuesday’s meeting. “This meeting on the 21st, with round table discussions and a facilitator, it sounds like a very controlled environment instead of an open mic where everybody can hear what people say. I think it needs to be open.”

Grieve however insists that residents will be able to voice their opinions at the Community Consultation meeting.

“People will have the opportunity to be heard, we’re trying to set up a constructive forum,” she said. “We’ve been hearing from many sides already; some are upset because they weren’t involved in the decision, some are upset now because we’re trying to involve them in making decisions.

“This meeting is about getting direction from the community. It’s an opportunity for everyone to be heard who wants to; get the survey in and/or come to the meeting, tell us where we should be spending your money. I’m just hoping people come out for this. I’m looking forward to it.”