Artist conceptualization of the proposed Grand Forks Community Centre. The RDKB is hosting an open house to discuss the project on Sept. 19.

Open house to prepare Grand Forks and area for referendum

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) will be holding a Community Open House for residents in Grand Forks and Electoral Area D/Rural Grand Forks to attend on Monday, Sept. 19, from 4 – 7pm.

The aim of the event, which will be held at the Grand Forks & District Aquatic Centre, is to discuss this October’s Referendum on the proposed construction, operation, maintenance and funding of a community centre in the city.

To be cost effective, the Assent Vote (commonly referred to as a Referendum) will be held in conjunction with this year’s General Local Election on Saturday, October 15.

“We’re so excited about this project,” said Paul Keys, Manager of RDKB’s Facilities and Recreation based in Grand Forks. “A gathering place where people can come together for social, cultural, business and life events yet have the opportunity to enjoy live entertainment, indoor performances, additional fitness and recreation programming too. In short, it will take us to another level.”

“The people of Grand Forks and area have wanted a community space like this for a very long time,” said Danna O’ Donnell, RDKB Director, Electoral Area D/Rural Grand Forks. “There’s nothing like it locally.

“The want and need for it is clearly there and many stakeholders have been involved in the process so that the proposed build will be fit for purpose to fill that gap.

“We need to be clear, though. Even if voters approve the referendum — the project, and its final costs, will still have to be approved at the RDKB board level to make it a reality. We are almost there!”

“At the open house, residents will be able to get everything they need to make an informed decision when it comes to the referendum,” says James Chandler, GM of Operations at the RDKB. “Staff who have been involved with the proposals from the outset will be on hand to answer questions, explain how it will impact taxes and talk about project specifics. It’s an exciting time for Grand Forks,”

It is hoped that grants, which will be actively pursued in 2023, will significantly bring down the $16.3 million anticipated build costs.

“If the loan authorization bylaw is approved in the referendum, the project will have the capacity in its budget to move forwards and we’ll be one step closer to securing a local community space,” said Cathy Korolek RDKB Director for Grand Forks. “We want to bring these ceiling costs down in any way we can by taking advantage of all grant opportunities. If successful, taxpayers contributions will be lessened accordingly. Shifting timelines risk rising costs elsewhere so we’ll need to ensure financial gains are worth any delays.”

Located adjacent to the current aquatic centre and arena near the intersection of Hwy 3 and 19th Street, the one-storey, 13,000 sq. ft. facility will feature a community hall for 250 people, a commercial kitchen, washrooms, and a café. It will also house a conference room designed to meet the demands of a modern Emergency Operations Centre when there is an activation.

The design incorporates a variety of spaces suitable for fitness, recreation, youth, maker activities, meetings, weddings, events, markets, fairs, family and special events.

To find out more about the referendum and Community Centre project to include timelines, the impact on taxes and the 1802 and 1806 proposed bylaws which eligible electors will be asked to vote on, please visit https://jointheconversation.rdkb.com/ and look out for the mail shot in the post.