Going from wants to needs

A new swimming pool, a running track next to the sports fields at Little Mountain, four ball diamonds at Klahani Park.

Taking a look: Mike Effray

A new swimming pool, a running track next to the sports fields at Little Mountain, four ball diamonds at Klahani Park.

These were just a few possibilities mentioned Wednesday night in a presentation from Erik Lees of Lees + Associates on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

His company’s job in compiling the proposed plan has been to “try to interpret the wants, and distill those down to some realistic needs,” he said. While it was a big night for the consultants, it was not so big for citizens – about 15 people showed up at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort.

Of the recommendations in the plan, the most urgent pertains to the SASCU Recreation Centre pool. Lees said developing a plan for refitting or replacement of the centre is a high priority.

“The bad news we’re delivering tonight is that those facilities are at or near the end of their useful lifetime,” he said, noting that council could be faced with a decision about “what to do with a swimming pool that springs too big a leak to repair.”

While he said the condition of the gym is not too bad, it has problems including a ceiling that’s too low for volleyball.

“It is also past its prime,” he said.

With regards to renovating or replacing, “anybody that’s rebuilt a house would probably say you’re better off to replace,” he noted, adding that the cost will be significant, “multiple millions.”

Lori Roy, one resident who attended the meeting, agrees with replacing the pool.

“It would be the least disruptive and the most beneficial to the most number of user groups.”

As for other facilities, Shaw Centre is in good condition and well maintained, Lees said, but some spaces could be better utilized, such as the second-floor restaurant. He said it has potential as a fitness gym, whether it’s run by a private contractor or the rec society.

“There is a lack of decent, quality, modern – what we would consider to be modern facility standards – for fitness within Salmon Arm.”

Lees said the field house at Little Mountain could be used more, adding that the bathrooms are either insufficient or need to be opened more often.

“On the whole it’s a wonderful facility, but it could be further programmed, especially with the school right across the street. It could be programmed for youth.”

The consultants also looked at the indoor arena.

“The question is whether it gets renovated or whether a new indoor facility gets built or, rather than a new indoor facility, monies are put into an artificial turf field and track facility… That old building… it’s really stretched to its limit.”

Lees said several citizens mentioned the need for a track and, if it was deemed necessary, one possibility would be the current site of the city works yard next to the Little Mountain fields.

He said the consultants also looked at expanding the availability of outdoor fields through the shoulder seasons by creating an artificial turf field. One possibility would be the middle field at Little Mountain, or at the Jackson campus of Salmon Arm Secondary. One option would be combining an artificial surface and a track, he said.

Klahani Park in South Canoe, with the adjacent gravel pit, was seen as having a lot of potential, with one option being four ball diamonds complete with a clubhouse and changing facilities. Lees said the playground could be expanded, the washrooms upgraded – even an amphitheatre and event stages could be situated there.

“It could be a really wonderful festival site,” he said, adding there are good precedents in other communities for using former gravel pits.

The plan can be seen at http://www.salmonarm.ca/index.aspx?nid=288

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