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Price-tag for proposed sports complex whittled down

January 03, 2013 - 3:48 PM

The elements of a new sports complex in Vernon have been reworked, reducing the total cost by a million bucks.

Local politicians debated aspects of the plan at a Greater Vernon Advisory meeting Thursday, and have reached a final figure of $7.5 million for the facility, which would be located next to Okanagan College in Coldstream. Due to the lack of a regulation-sized track, Greater Vernon cannot host the B.C. Summer Games or the B.C. Senior Games. The proposal for a facility which would allow the community to host such events will be brought to a referendum April 6.

"A lot of people are going to make their decision based on location or price," Vernon director Bob Spiers said in an interview after the meeting. "By reducing the price, it may encourage some people to support this."

To fund the construction of the track and field facility, a taxpayer with an average-priced home would have to pay an additional $14.72 every year for 20 years.

In several areas the committee was given a choice between two options, one expensive, the other less of an investment. The committee trimmed the cost for off site works by substituting sidewalks, curbs and gutters around the site with a cheaper multi-use pathway.

"I think it's appropriate for the site," Coldstream director Jim Garlick said. Opting for the multi-use path shaved $613,144 off the total price-tag.

The cost was further reduced by the decision to choose a soil-based soccer pitch blended with sand, rather than a fully sand based pitch. The selection saves $145,000, but comes at the cost of more maintenance required to properly drain the field of water.

To cover the bleachers or not meant the difference of $200,000, a sum that was ultimately saved by the choice to go with the less expensive open air seating.

"It's open air with the potential to add a cover in the future," Garlick said.

There were some cut-backs the committee wasn't willing to make, such as the $1,137,00 for a synthetic turf field, as opposed to a cheaper $525,000 natural grass field. The more expensive option means the track would be usable all year round, in all types of weather. The sturdier ground cover would mean less damage, and more usage time.

"It would be a false saving (to choose natural grass) because we would have to build five more fields," director Bob Fleming said, noting the synthetic turf stands up better to heavy usage, and provides the same capacity as six grass fields. 

The committee also opted for a rubberized track surface with a life expectancy of 25 years, worth $1,705,000. The alternative would have been a poured-in-place polyurethane surface costing $1,545,000, with a life expectancy of 12 years.

The committee emphasized they were asking voters to pay up to the $7.5 million, but that the project might come in under budget. Fundraising by user groups would help make that happen, and community development coordinator Tannis Nelson said various groups are already preparing to do so.

"We're trying to go to the public with a facility that will meet their needs," GVAC chair Mike Macnabb said of the choices the committee made.

The committee says the facility would be a three year construction project. Once complete, they say it would attract 104,526 user visits, including elementary school track meets, rugby, lacrosse, and general community users. They say it wouldn't serve just to host events like the B.C. Summer Games, but would also provide a state-of-the-art sports facility to the community.

Further information about the sports facility can be found here

—Charlotte Helston

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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