Not too late: Time for an open dis­cus­sion on the Rec Com­plex?

The McLeod River Post - - FRONT PAGE - June McInnes

The Rec Com­plex with the right kind of star can be­ing in $60,000 plus in ONE NIGHT?

We’re writ­ten about the Ed­son Rec Com­plex many times be­fore. From the pre­vi­ous Town of Ed­son ad­min­is­tra­tion re­spond­ing to a sale of­fer just be­fore the elec­tions, to a re­quest for pro­posal process (RFP) that was in­ter­rupted, ky­boshed one might even say, by an Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety (OH&S) in­spec­tion that dis­cov­ered ex­posed as­bestos. In a trans­par­ent en­vi­ron­ment that we are all sup­posed to live in nowa­days, the de­tails of the prob­lem and its pos­si­ble ram­i­fi­ca­tions how the as­bestos be­came ex­posed and if there was any fault re­main a mys­tery. If this was the Leg­is­la­ture or the House of Com­mons most likely there would be very loud calls in­deed for an in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Not so, so far.

Next, the Town of Ed­son had some work done and pre­sum­ably signed off by OH&S and de­clared that most ar­eas were safe. Town Coun­cil also de­cided on de­mol­ish­ing the build­ing and asked Yel­low­head County to chip in for the cost. Yel­low­head County re­fused and asked for more in­for­ma­tion and for al­ter­na­tive strate­gies to be ex­am­ined. As far as we are aware this was not forth­com­ing. In­deed, Ed­son Town Coun­cil went on to vote for an­other RFP for the de­mo­li­tion of the Rec Com­plex with pre­sum­ably just Ed­son tax­pay­ers foot­ing the bill. One could log­i­cally as­sume that the build­ing was worth­less, not vi­able and must be pulled down? How­ever, we don’t have the rea­sons why or how that de­ci­sion was reached or any ex­am­i­na­tion of an al­ter­na­tive. One could also ask why is it OK for Ed­son tax­payer’s money to be spent on de­mol­ish­ing what could be a use­ful build­ing? Surely tax pay­ers have a right to know the full ra­tio­nale be­hind the de­ci­sion?

Any­way, fast for­ward a while and Yel­low­head County and The Town of Ed­son have signed a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MOU) and formed a steer­ing com­mit­tee for a new multi-plex cen­tre and al­ready is­sued an RFP for ar­chi­tec­tural ser­vices, the site could well be Grif­fiths Park and the spend maybe up to $50 mil­lion. There may be hic­cups down the road on some govern­ment fund­ing, es­pe­cially with an elec­tion loom­ing and some tough de­ci­sions may have to be made to put more Town and County money into the pot. Right now, we can see no pro­vi­sion for any per­form­ing art cen­tre.

The old Rec Com­plex was used for one grad and on Sept. 13 top coun­try star, Brett Kis­sel backed up by lo­cal per­former Tyler Babiuk, per­formed a ben­e­fit con­cert at the Rec Com­plex for Ed­son boy, Parker Martin who is fight­ing a brain tu­mour.

We have heard that around 1,200 peo­ple at­tended the con­cert with a ticket price of $50. That’s $60,000 in ticket sales plus bev­er­ages. Great news for Parker too. But, think on this, the Rec Com­plex with the right kind of star can be­ing in $60,000 plus in ONE NIGHT? Surely, some­one can come up with a busi­ness plan for EN­TER­TAIN­MENT in­clud­ing the per­form­ing arts? There is time for study and a re­think be­fore the wrecking ball comes in. De­ci­sions can be un­made, it’s been done be­fore.

File photo The McLeod River PostThink on this, the Rec Com­plex with the right kind of star can be­ing in $60,000 plus in ONE NIGHT? Surely, some­one can come up with a busi­ness plan for EN­TER­TAIN­MENT in­clud­ing the per­form­ing arts? There is time for study and a re­think be­fore the wrecking ball comes in. De­ci­sions can be un­made, it’s been done be­fore.

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