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Posted: April 8, 2019

Council getting push back on sports facility site

The Cranbrook Bike Skills Society (Cranbrook BMX) is submitting 180 letters to City of Cranbrook mayor and council noting disagreement with the recently announced location of the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association (KEYSA) indoor sports facility.

The following is the letter being submitted, signed by Laura Niehaus, Cranbrook BMX track operator. City council meets at 6 p.m. this evening at city hall.

“We would like to submit to Mayor and Council for record, 168 letters on behalf of concerned City of Cranbrook residents and business owners whom all disagree with council’s decision made at the last meeting, that would see the volunteer run BMX track displaced from its current location in order to make way for KEYSA to build a soccer dome. A decision that is bringing about a toxic culture, eroding the sense of community and belonging while creating divisiveness. Blatantly disregarding and disrespecting the volunteers who put in hundreds of hours, the businesses and individuals who donated thousands of dollars, material and services to build a unique sports venue for our community.

“Along with the letters from residents we are also providing several letters from people outside of our community that would not otherwise come to Cranbrook if we did not have a BMX track, as tourism is also vital to the growth of our community, these letters should to be considered. Totalling 180 letters submitted to record for council to consider. This is well over double the 70 letters council said to have received from KEYSA members off record, several of which were not from City of Cranbrook residents.

“Council chose to overturn the decision to donate free land at Moir Park to KEYSA in favour of Balment Park, based on 70 letters. We would only expect council to show the same regard for the 180 support letters from Cranbrook residents, businesses and others, asking council to nullify the accepted motion and allow the Cranbrook BMX track to remain in its current location, while supporting council’s previous decision to donate land at Moir Park or an alternative central location for KEYSA to build the Soccer Dome. I will quote Councillor Blissett, “The people of Cranbrook have spoken; council needs to listen to them.”

“The delay KEYSA experienced during this process is due to KEYSA themselves choosing to refuse the land that was offered to them in at Moir Park June 2018. Therefore, why should council have been rushing to another decision, when a previous vote was already accepted based on a well thought out decision that was in the best interest of our community.

“The KEYSA soccer dome could already have been fully built and operational; however, they chose to delay their own build and risk their grants, because they did not like the land area that was graciously offered to them for no cost by the city – land that we all pay for as residents.

“The continued threat of being displaced delayed Cranbrook BMX in completing our own build, not being allowed to install our starting gate until months into our first season, lack in sponsorship and funding due to uncertainty, resulting in having to cancel our local race program and scheduled provincial race.

“The costs to Cranbrook citizens for the BMX track to remain in Balment Park and for the KEYSA soccer dome to be at Moir is zero.

“So why would the soccer dome not be built in Moir Park? Many issues KEYSA said to have with Moir Park, the city quickly offered help and find solutions for. The city offered to plow the parking lot so KEYSA did not have to incur that cost. They even offered to re-route the busing that already exists in that area to provide better access for users without other means of transportation.

“There are city-maintained washroom facilities that can accommodate the use of the dome year-round, not to mention that Moir already hosts soccer fields that are currently maintained by the city. Soccer parents currently drive their children up to Moir Park soccer fields during the summer months, would they not drive them to the soccer dome during winter months?

“They would drive their children to tournaments all over B.C. and further but not one to three minutes within their own city? Many schools currently bus children up to Moir Park and surrounding businesses. Should teachers choose to pay the costly rental fee to use this facility, it is within the school district and most PAC budgets to bus students within the city limits including Moir Park. There very few schools that would be in walking distance of the dome if it were to be located within Balment Park.

“As a group we have always shown great support and respect for the other user groups put in this situation, as well as put in countless hours with city staff to find many solutions that allow for all groups to be successful within our community. We know that council has many factors to consider, but that you can come up with a solution that moves our city forward by embracing unique opportunities such as a BMX track and soccer dome.

“Everyone has a passion, it is what makes a community diverse and allows for growth. We need to be offering our residents, families and youth more, not taking away opportunities to be active, doing what they love.”


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