The Long Table Dinner will be held at Cominco Gardens on August 26.
The largest remaining asset of KCDS is Cominco Gardens. Bulletin file

The Long Table Dinner will be held at Cominco Gardens on August 26. The largest remaining asset of KCDS is Cominco Gardens. Bulletin file

Kimberley Community Development Society to wind down

A Kimberley society that was responsible for many of the city’s most visible assets is winding down.

Kimberley Community Development Society (KCDS) president Karen Cetinski announced in a press release that after 37 years of serving the community the operating model has run its course.

At its peak, the KCDS was involved in the management and development of Kimberley Vacations, the Kimberley Riverside Campground, the Conference and Athletic Training Centre, Bootleg Gap Golf Course, Cominco Gardens, and the Ice Cream Hut building downtown.

Most of those assets have now been sold, with only Cominco Gardens and the Ice Cream Hut building downtown remaining.

“With no future projects on the horizon with the City, we really don’t really have much of a mandate to continue,” Cetinski said.

“KCDS was ahead of its time in the eighties, but now is the time to wind down as the economic development operating model for the City has changed,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “I want to thank all of board members and staff who did such a great job over the years.”

The KCDS was formed in 1984 with the participation of the City’s Economic Development Officer, Larry Haber, who envisioned a coordinated approach between the municipal government, and a not for profit society that could look for grant funding from a wider range of sources. Once projects were completed, the KCDS would manage the assets, or support other community groups to do so.

With an experienced administration and finance department, the KCDS was also able to set up bookkeeping services for other community organizations, several of which operate in City owned buildings like the Health Centre, Kimberley Public Library, and Centre 64.

“One of our most important considerations has been to come up with strategies to continue to support the community groups who currently rely on KCDS admin department services,” said past President Craig Hillman. “We also needed to assist in management transition for some of the big assets like the conference center, campground and Bootleg.

“It’s no simple task to account for all the assets, deal with supplier agreements, wrap up books of accounts and audits, and get ready to pass the keys to new groups. The last and biggest two assets we had to transition during the first waves of the pandemic, which was a big challenge.”

The key question now is what will happen with the largest remaining asset, Cominco Gardens. Cetinski says that this will be the last season the KCDS will manager and operate the garden and they have passed on recommendations to City council that will provide good options for operating and staffing the gardens next year and beyond.

“It’s city asset to ultimately it will be their decision on how to proceed,” she said.

READ: What’s next for KCDS?

READ: Kimberley Community Development Society honours Sykes

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