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Vernon MLA disappointed by arena 'hiccup', says minister is on it personally

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October 08, 2015 - 10:34 AM

VERNON - Vernon’s MLA isn’t happy about ongoing delays surrounding a referendum for a new ice sheet. 

The provincial government rejected, for a second time, a referendum proposal from the City of Vernon and the North Okanagan Regional District, putting the initiative even further behind schedule. Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster says he’s ‘disappointed with how all this has transpired.’

“I really applaud the partners in Greater Vernon Recreation, it took a lot of work to iron out their management agreement for this,” Foster says. “To have glitches coming in… I’m very disappointed in how this has unfolded and we’re doing our best to resolve it.”

The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development is concerned about the ownership model put forward in the current referendum plan — which involves the regional district borrowing funds to build a second ice sheet at Kal Tire Place, and eventually transferring ownership to the city. But Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund says it’s exactly the approach the province told them to do ‘down to a T’ after rejecting the first proposal.

Local government is quickly running out of time if it wants to hold a referendum this November, and Foster says the province is making it a priority to get the 'hiccup' ironed out in time.

“The Minister is on this personally. We’re going to try to resolve this as soon as we possibly can,” Foster says. “They (local government) want to go to referendum this fall, and if it works out, get to work next spring. I fully support them on that.”

It’s expected the referendum, once authorized by the province, will ask voters to consider borrowing up to $13.2 million to decommission the aging Civic Arena and build a second ice sheet at Kal Tire Place.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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