Kimberley sports groups seek city support

Soccer Association and Nordic Club both hope to attract major events to town

Kimberley Council heard from two different Kimberley sports groups at their regular meeting Tuesday night this week; the Kimberley Soccer Association and the Kimberley Nordic Club.

Both were looking for Council support for club projects.

The Kimberley Nordic Club, whose racers have been seeing some great success in recent years, is looking to bring international races to Kimberley.

The club believes Kimberley is ideally situated to host larger events such as the Western Canadian Championships and the NorAm races that also attract athletes from the USA. These events could bring between 400 to 700 athletes and support people to Kimberley for 3-5 days, which would have a significant beneficial economic impact.

In order to bring the Nordic Trails up to FIS standards for races, a process called homologation takes place. This involves visits from CCC consultant, some new trail expansion, and trail widening in most areas that will be designated race trails.

The entire cost should be in the $60,000 area and the Nordic Club applied to the Columbia Basin Trust for a grant this past summer, but were not successful. However, they were asked to reapply this winter. That’s where the help from the City comes in. As Frank Ackermann from the Nordic Club explained to Council, neither he nor anyone else in the club is a grant writer.  They are hoping Kevin Wilson from Economic Development would look at the grant before they send it and give them advice on how to improve it. The grant will be sent to the CBT and also to the BC Rural Dividend Fund.

Council was quick to approve the request, with Coun. Albert Hoglund saying the it would be a feather in Kimberley’s cap to attract big races.

City CAO Scott Sommerville said that this was exactly the type of work he wanted Economic Development to be involved in — projects that help  and enhance the city.

The Kimberley Soccer Association was looking for monetary help as they continue to make improvements to the Purcell Park soccer facility. In the past few years, thousands of volunteer hours have built three soccer fields with underground irrigation and parking.

The dream was to build a clubhouse but that has been scaled back to a washroom and storage building. Construction on that building began in 2014 but material costs have prevented completion. It now becomes imperative to get the building to lockup stage before this winter because it is exposed to the elements and it is not secure.

The cost to bring it to lockup stage is $25,461, and the Soccer Association has requested those funds from the city. Finishing the building, says Andy Grey from the Association, would not only enhance the JulyFest tournament, but allow them to attract big tournaments which generate economic impact for Kimberley.

Council voted to send the request to staff for consideration but several councillors noted that the soccer facility was a considerable asset for Kimberley.