By ROY WOOD
The elevator planned for Desert Park will end up going to the arena and curling rink, at least partly because there are no events scheduled this year for the race track and grand stand facility.
Part of the credit for the switch also goes to members of the International Curling Club, who have sought the elevator for its facility since it became apparent late last year that the funding might be available. A dozen or so members were at Osoyoos council today anticipating the decision would go their way.
The drama began to unfold late last year when forecast cost overruns prompted council to forego the elevator project at Desert Park based on a $32,500 accessibility grant. It was around then that the curling club indicated an interest in using the grant money to improve access at their facility.
Town staff continued to look for ways to take advantage of the grant funding money without spending a lot of town money.
Community services director Gerald Davis brought forward several options for council to consider, including: installing a less expensive elevator at Desert Park; installing a “platform lift” at Sun Bowl Arena, which would also serve the curling club; or going ahead with Sun Bowl and putting Desert Park in the next year’s budget.
Davis’s report noted that Desert Park has decided not to continue with its “Medieval Faire” event this summer and actually has no other events scheduled for the year.
The curling club on the other hand, has plenty of activities and the need for better accessibility. An elevator or similar device turned out not to be feasible at the curling club, but a platform lift – basically an elevator for a wheelchair – could work at Sun Bowl Arena and could be accessed by the curling club as well.
Council decided in the end to use the grant for the Sun Bowl platform lift and to leave an elevator for Desert Park for next year.
Desert Park Society president Bruce Fuller said in an interview this afternoon that attracting events to the facility can be a frustrating endeavour.
He pointed out that Osoyoos is a very active place in the summer and there are events competing or attention virtually every weekend. He said the society is working hard at attracting events.
“We have probes out there for a couple of events this summer, but I can’t tell you what they would be or when they would be,” he said.
Fuller said the society is looking for new members to supplement the seven directors currently on the board.