Rotary pitches park improvements to Castlegar council

Designed amenities would resemble facilities at Birchbank Park, south of Castlegar

Rotarians Dave Kravski (L) and Ron Ross make a Nov. presentation concerning a planned concession/shelter/storage facility at Twin Rivers Park.

City Council briefs

A pair of delegations were on the agenda to kick off the regular meeting of Castlegar’s City Council on Monday, Nov. 4 right after newly installed Deputy Fire Chief Sam Lattanzio was officially welcomed to duty in his new post.

The first of the delegations was made up of Rick and Donna Smith on behalf of the Pass Creek Regional Exhibition Society.

It was an upbeat presentation delivered by the Smiths, citing both past and current successes and asserting the value and popularity of the annual community event.

Used as an example of what the society and community can strive toward, was the highlight of the calendar in Armstrong, BC – the Interior Provincial Exhibition, second only to Vancouver’s Pacific National Exhibition in stature.

“Armstrong,” explained Rick Smith, “with a population of 4,500 draws about 75,000 to its weekend fair.” Closer to home, the Rock Creek Fall Fair is another well-run event that the local fair can emulate, according to the Smiths, although such attractions as a midway are not in the local plans.

In terms of popular aspects of the Pass Creek party, Donna mentioned the Dirty Diggers program as especially well-enjoyed by all ages.

An ambitious project with what appears to be good potential was described by a two-man delegation representing Castlegar’s two Rotary Clubs.

Ron Ross, president of the Sunrise 2000 group, and Dave Kravski of the PM equivalent shared some drawn-up plans and a wealth of information regarding amenities hoped to become a reality at Twin Rivers Park.

On the drawing board is a concession, a shelter designed to accommodate up to 150 people and a storage facility for the local soccer association, which, incidentally is joining with the Rotarians in working for the improvements.

“The idea came in looking at the development of the park (Millennium Ponds Project). We saw some needs we felt were being missed,” said Kravski following the meeting. “We thought this would be an interesting project to undertake.”

An attractive and proven model exists in the area, as Ross outlined.

“We looked at Birchbank (park) and we really liked the concept. That’s sort of what we’re planning to do in our park.”

The plan is to create an enjoyable and useful space for gatherings – picnics, weddings, etc., usable when the weather is wet or very hot. Commerical grade cooking facilities are apparently part of the scheme.

Council appeared receptive to the idea. To go ahead, a number of details would need sorting out, in particular, who would operate it?

The men presented three price estimates to council, from a high of $330,000 for a “full, turn key” facility. Ross continued, “We think doing it the Rotary way… staging it, using some volunteer labour, and scrounging some materials, we could get it down to around a quarter million.”

Responding to a recent letter (topic also broached in the Castlegar News) in regard to perceived safety concerns with Mountain Training Institute, a professional driver’s school, a staff report was called for by council last month.

The institute, MTI, was studied and upon staff investigation, city staff was advised of the following:

“They have made it clear to their instructors to stay away from all streets near schools in the morning and afternoon. And, the students do not drive within city limits until they have learnt the correct shifting techniques.”

It was also revealed that city staff had contacted the ICBC Road Test Examiner Supervisor, who “indicated that MTI pass rates are high and they strive to stay out of residential areas during the actual road test.”