KEYSA and Cranbrook BMX have both responded since Cranbrook City Council's decision to go back and reevaluate potential locations for KEYSA's Indoor Sports Facility at Balment Park or somewhere else in the City.
Last Monday, April 8th, Cranbrook City Council reversed its decision to approve Option 5 at Balment Park for the Indoor Sports Facility, citing that "new information" had arisen, leading Mayor Lee Pratt to reconsider the vote as per the Community Charter.
More: Cranbrook City Council to Reconsider Indoor Sports Facility Decision at Balment Park (April 8, 2019)
Since then, Cranbrook BMX and the Kootenay East Youth Soccer Association (KEYSA) have both responded to City Council's decision.
"It was surprising when they put forth Option 5 because we've worked very hard to come up with many other solutions, both within the park and outside the park for KEYSA to build the dome," said Laura Niehaus with Cranbrook BMX. "I'm glad to hear that they're willing to listen to our concerns."
"We really prefer options that are respectful of as many user groups as possible, all if possible," added Mike Robinson, Project Lead on KEYSA'a Indoor Sports Facility. "We do understand that the request to be at Balment comes with some considerations to that, there's a number of different users there, Sam Steele, BMX, and then also just the value of green space, we've identified all of those."
Both Niehaus and Robinson said they were surprised when Council decided on Option 5 last month, seeing as several meetings prior, they had six various options to choose from with various layouts of the facility.
More: Cranbrook City Council Approves Indoor Sports Facility Location at Balment Park (March 26, 2019)
Of all six options, Option 5 was the only option that would Cranbrook BMX to fully relocation from Balment Parks, spurring a strong response from the community.
"We were just really glad that Council chose to listen to the many voices of Cranbrook," said Niehaus. We received over 200 letters supporting keeping the BMX track untouched in Balment Park and it was really appreciated that City Council took that into consideration."
Options 1 and 2 would see the Cranbrook BMX track remain exactly as is while Options 3, 4, and 6 would see the track remain at Balment Park but still have to be reconstructed or rebuilt.
"We would like to see BMX remain a part of that area and we believe that we have done the leg work to demonstrate how that is possible," Robinson told Summit 107. "We have used some accurate mapping to show that, footprint wise, you do have an Option 6 that can house both the Indoor Sports Facility and the BMX area as well as maintaining the green space as much as possible. We feel that that's a nice compromise for all groups, I see all groups having to make some sacrifices in that. Depending on how everyone feels on that, that option may or may not be viable, but I think of the options presented there that can maintain all users in that area, Option 6 rises to the top."
Options 1-6 for KEYSA's Indoor Sports Facility at Balment Park and its potential configurations at the location (Credit: City of Cranbrook / KEYSA / New Dawn Developments)
"If the Council chooses to put the KEYSA dome at Balment, we'd love to see it so that no other user groups are affected and that we can all work together and be there," added Niehaus. "I mean ideally, we don't want to have to rebuild the track and redo any of the work that we've already done."
With recent discussions, there is potential that Cranbrook City Council chooses one of the six options available at Balment Park, or perhaps an entirely new location for the Indoor Sports Facility depending on the availability of land and the interest of KEYSA.
"One of our principles is to limit the interference with any other user group, so if there is a suitable central location that allows the facility to exist and function successfully - so financially into the future - then KEYSA's certainly open to that," Robinson told Summit 107.
Whether it's Balment Park or somewhere else, Cranbrook City Council is expected to make a new decision on the Indoor Sports Facility's location at their next meeting on April 29, 2019.
Audio: Laura Niehaus, Cranbrook BMX (on the facility's potential location at Balment Park)
Audio: Mike Robinson, KEYSA Indoor Sports Facility (on a central location for the facility)