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Op/Ed - Recreation in Rossland: It's in your hands, so speak up now!

Three generations on bikes. Photo by Sara Golling

There’s a plan afoot about recreation in Rossland – and how it turns out depends on who speaks up, and what you say.

The Recreation Master Plan will form a guide for decision-making by the City on which facilities to spend more money on – or less.  Which is more important to you – trails, or ice in the arena?  Tennis or pickleball? Our ancient outdoor pool, built by volunteer labour back in 1932 – yes, 90 years ago! – or improved playing fields?  Arts and culture, or skiing and snowshoeing?

And how much should the City subsidize recreation and culture?

It’s not an “either—or” game, but the Recreation Master Plan will influence which activities and facilities get more, or less, support from the City.

If you haven’t already given your ideas on recreation and culture for the Master Plan, please do – or forever lose your right to complain about recreational facilities, or spending, in Rossland.

Here’s a link to a survey designed to elicit your opinions and help build the Recreation Master Plan—please fill it out before June 30:  

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RosslandResidentSurvey

At Monday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting, Expedition Consulting Ltd. briefed Council about the process for developing Rossland’s Recreation Master Plan.  Justin Rousseau explained that the process is currently in Phase II, public and stakeholder engagement. He mentioned that the resident and stakeholder surveys are active now – until June 30.

Morel asked how the process of gathering input from residents and stakeholders has been going; Rousseau answered, a slow start, but picking up steam. They’ve been talking to people at trailheads and the skatepark, inter alia.

Miller asked what their impressions are about Rossland’s recreation assets; they had noted many natural assets, and a couple of “aging” facilities.

Expedition Consulting had some question for Council; my brief notes on the answers provided by Council members follow, below.

Question:  How important is recreation to Rossland?  Bowman – very important -- it’s our lifeline; many people move here and live here because of it.  Miller  mentioned that there are Rosslanders who are not keen cyclists or skiers, and that it’s important to have recreational possibilities for them too.  Nightingale pointed out that arts and culture are also important elements of our community. The cost of housing was cited as one reason why young people who have left this small town for the big city can’t afford to return; limited employment opportunities are another reason.

Question:  what are your future aspirations for recreation and culture? 

Bowman:  growing with the facilities we have, with the strengths we have now. 

Spooner:  we’re working with limited resources.  Our demographics and recreational preferences are changing, but nobody wants to give up what they have now.  Would like to see money put where it will provide the most benefit, and have a rationale for what we’re subsidizing and why. Spooner pointed out that the City is making money from the climbing gym in the basement of the Miners Hall, and that the City has been subsidizing a group of curlers. We can‘t fund everything; what should we fund, and why?

Miller would like us to have a plan that provides good guidelines.  We have to fix the relationship with Trail and the TRP.  Would like to see recreation corridors – would love to reclaim the railgrade through town and all the way to Warfield.

Nightingale said it’s important that facilities are well used, that our cultural events are well attended; to have everybody in the community recognize the value of all activities.

Morel  favours user-pay; pointed out that hockey is a very expensive sport, not only for the facility but also for the players’ gear.

Question: what facilities and programs does Rossland need now and into the future?

Spooner – a place to swim and cool off in the summer, but not the pool. It’s a long way to Nancy Greene Lake, or Gyro.  Wants a swimming hole closer to town.

Nightingale – after-school programs; there is a dearth of after-school childcare facilities – parents need a place where their kids can go, on their own,  after school.

Spooner – sees a lot of people who just want to walk their dog or ride their bike around town; a lot of people are using the trails around town all winter.

Miller – thinks we need more beginner – easy – trails.

Morel – pool is important; learning to swim is a safety consideration; the Warfield pool is only ten minutes away by car – there’s a potential for cooperation.

Question:  if the master plan could achieve one thing, what should it be?

Spooner – to provide a framework for staff to do their job.

Bowman – agreed, and that would allow Council to make better decisions. 

Miller – is very interested in the feedback from the community. 

Morel – it’s really critical that we have as many residents as possible contribute their views.

Nightingale – how do we capture the support people have for activities they don’t actually do themselves, but want others to be able to do?

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Dear reader, please try to answer those questions yourself, and get your opinions to the good people at Expedition Consulting Ltd. so they will have the best possible basis for their work, so that it can benefit all of us.

Below:  walkers on the Accessible Trail, in the Rossland Range  Recreation Site, near Strawberry Pass.