The organization that developed Kelowna’s High Noon Park so locals would have an ideal place to play ball for the last 25 years, may finally get their coffers infused with some cash from the city.
The Kelowna Minor Fastball society went to council with a request for $45,000 that would allow them to repair and maintain facilities at the Old Vernon Road site, after reaching a financial breaking point following the halving of their share of provincial gaming grants.
“This facility is an important facility in minor sport delivery system,” explained city staffer Jim Gabriel, bringing the financial request forward. He added that it would cost the city $85,000 if the contract to maintain the property was brought in-house.
While many requests for funds have fallen on deaf ears due to the city’s financial constraints, but this proposal was a hit with the vast majority of city council members who pointed out they’ve had a lengthy free ride when it came to the site.
“The city got a great deal with this thing—we haven’t put a dime into this whole project,” said Coun. Andre Blanleil. “The city needs to come to the table with the lottery money being changed…and it’s time the city played a bigger role in this.”
Pointing out that thousands of volunteer hours and dollars have been poured into the site, due to the efforts of the society, Blanleil said that it could only get better with city involvement.
Coun. Robert Hobson, admittedly filling a dollar-wary role that usually falls to Blanleil, asked where the $45,000 would come from and how it would impact the final budget, which comes out in May. That, he was told, would be determined at that time.
Also expressing some misgivings, was Coun. Luke Stack who pointed out that council already decided to top up the Lawn Bowling Club, which was in need of $15,000. “This could be a trend, and we as council need to pay attention,” he said.