Consider This: Is Creston’s rec centre an asset or liability?

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Let’s face it. For some Creston Valley residents, the Creston and District Community Complex is a tremendous value while for others it is the equivalent of a money pit. Can we bridge those two opposing views and move the community forward?

Here are some possible ways:

Why not give very low admission fees to groups of schoolchildren and individual kids? If the rec centre makes 10-25 cents on each little visitor, not only will every parent be able to afford it, but youngsters will spend valuable time in a healthy environment instead of squandering equal time playing computer games or roaming the streets. If reasonably low admission was given to an accompanying parent or grandparent, that would be even better.

Some might argue that revenue will be lost but consider, please, that parents and grandparents are taxpayers. They already pay taxes contributing to the rec centre. In addition, many of those voters who opposed building the rec centre in the first place pay taxes on it, anyway, yet can not afford the high admission cost ($7.25/person).

It makes perfect sense to me that administrators, politicians and all who pushed this project through should prove to the public that the rec centre is to be a value instead of a tax burden. Check with parents, cops or social workers, but I am pretty sure they all prefer our youngsters being busy by any healthy alternative the rec centre can provide.

In addition to a swimming pool, there are smaller rooms, a weight room, large gathering rooms, an ice rink and a curling rink available. It has basically the same overhead expenses, empty or full. It could serve well both the community and taxpayers if all available free floating resources (Gleaners, crime prevention funds, Columbia Basin Trust and governmental grants) were pooled together and used to make the rec centre a wheel hub of Creston Valley life.

For example, would it be possible to host a concert in any suitably sized room once a week? There are so many churches and small musical groups able to put together beautiful musical programs that would spark the interest of future musicians, give whole families good reason to make it a family night or give lonely retirees many wonderful evenings. I am sure that all senior citizen facilities like Swan Valley Lodge would love to bring their residents to such occasions.

Another possible way to add customers to the rec centre is a restorative justice approach. Some of you are aware that a DUI charge can be a devastating blow to victims and perpetrators, as well. Why don’t judges give a drunk driver the option of either the usual punishment or buying a rec centre membership for a year, even for whole family, coupled with a pub ban for the same period? If a driver, finding himself in troubled waters, discovers that there is life beyond a pub, that he really has a wife, son or daughter, if his drinking buddies miss him and join him playing hockey, swimming, pumping weights or simply enjoying hot tub, isn’t it worth trying? (On the other hand, if his drinking buddies do not miss him, they were anything but friends.)

I have explained the above-mentioned ideas to two regional directors, one town councillor, school board officials, principals, vice-principals, trustees, parents, friends and neighbors. Overall, the response was very positive. I also believe there are Creston Valley residents, some of them retired, with plenty of time, expertise and great ideas, willing to participate and make it happen.

We can lose nothing if we give it a good, serious try.

Vladimir Certik believes that thinking outside the box and engaging fellow citizens may bring simple solutions to complex problems. The West Creston resident can be reached at 250-402-0055.