Grand opening Thursday at Valley’s new rec centre

All are welcome to attend Thursday, June 27th, 6-8 p.m.

The Columbia Lake Recreation Centre is hosting an official grand opening this Thusday, June 27th. The centre has been open for a couple months but now the Akisq’nuk First Nation is ready to formally open the doors to the public after a public soft opening in April.

The public event runs from 6-8 p.m. and includes traditional foods and music, informal sports demonstrations, history of the centre, and recognition of the donors that helped make the recreation centre possible.

The Columbia Lake Recreation Society (CLRS) registered in January 2019 to run the centre. The vision statement of the CLRS is that “they will honour the athletes of yesterday by supporting those of today and tomorrow,” said Heather Rennebohm, Akisq’nuk economic development officer and member of the board of directors. Other board members on the CLRS include Jason Nicholas, Lola Nicholas, Mary Jimmy, Chantelle Jimmy, and advisory members Clara Reinhardt and Karl Sterzer.

The Regional District of East Kootenay Board of Directors approved funding for 144 projects around the region for the coming year through the Columbia Basin Trust Community Initiatives and Affected Areas program. The Columbia Lake Recreation Society was one of the recipients, getting a total of $8,500 from the program: the District of Invermere contributed $3,000, Area F and Area G both donated $2,000, and the Village of Radium Hot Springs added $1,500. According to the project explanation, the funding is for the ‘start-up and promotions of Valley-wide sports, recreation and leisure programs’.

Ms. Rennebohm said the plan is to look for partnership opportunities across the Columbia Valley as time goes by though, right now, the focus is on programming at the Columbia Lake Recreation Centre. Currently, the main user of the centre is the pickleball association. There is also drop-in basketball and several health and wellness exercise groups, Ms. Rennebhohm reported. For more information about the centre, see https://columbialakerec.ca.

Other local organizations or projects that received funding from CBT’s Community Initiatives and Areas program included $30,169 to the Canal Flats Community Society for a community pavilion; $9,500 went to the Columbia Valley Food Bank to buy fridges, freezers and furniture for the new food bank. Sports groups, including the Rockies, the skating club and the youth soccer association, all got a boost, while other nonprofits such as the Canal Flats Food Bank Society, the Columbia Lake Stewardship Society, and Columbia Valley Arts Council received funding as well.

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