West Kelowna  

Councillor admonishes staff

West Kelowna staff were tasked to take over a proposed soccer dome in the city.

Coun. Duane Ophus provided much of the tongue-lashing over the pace of negotiations, of lack therein, with the Westside Youth Soccer Association.

The proposal to build an inflatable, indoor soccer dome similar to one near the Capital News Complex in Kelowna, has been on the books for a year.

"I thought council made it quite clear months ago that we were really keen on this project and nothing has happened. From my perspective this project better be given some urgent attention," said Ophus.

He questioned staff on the progress of an agreement between the city and the association, and was told one had not been hammered out because the association was waiting for a site to be secured.

"We asked for the draft months ago,. How are we supposed to get to the point where we have something to work with when we don't do the basics of our job.

Let me be as clear as I possible can. I don't believe it was not possible to come up with an agreement with the soccer association in the last year, conditional on identification and approval of a site. We have been dragging our feet, and I want it to end."

He said either a deal gets done, or the city needs to move on.

"We have an organization that wants to give the community $650,000 and we can't make this happen. What is wrong with this picture," he concluded.

The city was finally able to secure a site in November next to the Rosewood Sports Field.

The soccer association has secured nearly $1 million for the project, which was initially estimated to cost about $1 million.

However, that cost has more than doubled to $2.5 million, something which concerns Mayor Doug Findlater.

The city has already committed to paying one-third of the original cost.

A decision on how to pay for the project, it is able to go ahead, will be made during budget deliberations in January.

Three options will be on the table, asking the association to cover the remaining $2.2 million, asking the association to commit to $200,000 a year over five years, or having the city pick up the additional cost themselves.

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