Nice to see even glacial movement on the rec front. It would be nicer to see some common sense being applied to the overall situation – which is that we have facilities that are underused and heavily subsidized.
Start with the Trail Memorial Centre. Before anyone considers spending oodles of tax dollars on building a new library/museum complex long term plans for use and support of that still wonderful complex need to be in place.
The centre was built to serve a population in Trail, Warfield and the Beaver Valley of more than 20,000 people, a huge chunk of which were young people. And it was much used, opening at 8 a.m. seven days a week to accommodate everything from one of the province’s largest minor hockey systems to junior, senior and intermediate leagues, along with casual, (now known as, “Gentlemen’s,” or, “Beer League,” ) play.
The adult population it served was much younger, and there were many more school-aged residents.
Rossland had its own arena and curling rink, and senior basketball – moved from the now non-existent Legion Hall building, which also hosted swimming – was a much bigger deal in the area.
Curling rinks in Trail and Rossland hosted full draws four times a day, four days a week, and were as busy Saturday, while mixed and casual curling was offered up on Sundays.
Lacrosse filled some facility time in summer.
It was well worth the time and money to maintain what is still a prime facility compared with most small town hockey-centred buildings. Half a dozen or more concerts were held there, along with large bingos and other events, to boot.
Well, things have changed.
The arena, curling rink and library operate on much shorter hours – the building is closed as many hours as it is open – and as Beaver Valley has its own rinks and library the Trail-centered model is much diminished.
The entire Kootenays, bypassed entirely by the population growth in B.C., has facilities to die for and all of them (including those in Rossland and Beaver Valley) are in dire straits in terms of usage. Along with the arenas/rinks, summer use options abound.
Creating most of the premium buildings and parks available here would simply not be justifiable now.
Golf courses are struggling, the three aquatic centres within an hour of anywhere in the West Kootenay are all under-utilized and, like the arenas and parks, require serious subsidy.
This, I know, is all hindsight, but, as is the case with local schools, there have been warning signs for decades.
I have no idea what the answers to the conundrum we all face are. I do know the questions are serious and the problems will not diminish down the road – barring, of course, a miraculous population explosion in the area.
Among the answers, undoubtedly, would be (and would have been) a much higher focus on transit to the facilities that were in place. When the Memorial Centre was created, such transit existed and helped people from all over the area fill it for various activities.
Instead we built more, everywhere, and have a glut of almost unaffordable choices for sites in which to do everything one could desire.
When will the people, both in and out of power, begin, as the school district has had to, addressing the issues involved.
It is already way too late for optimal decisions – and inter-community attitudes are way too entrenched to make reaching such even possible – but, “what is to be done,” needs to be the top of mind question right now and until some practical measures are taken.