The cost of upgrades

Anyone who has spent time at the Summerland Rodeo Grounds has noticed the need for upgrades and improvements at the site.

Anyone who has spent time at the Summerland Rodeo Grounds has noticed the need for upgrades and improvements at the site.

The Summerland Rodeo Grounds Equine Development Committee members are working to raise money to pay for upgrades to the grounds — upgrades they say are long overdue.

Once improvements are completed, advocates say the rodeo grounds could be used as a venue for numerous events, drawing visitors to the community.

While few would argue the benefits of upgrading the grounds, the cost of this work is significant and must be considered.

Committee members estimate the upgrade work would come with a $250,000 price tag.

Raising this amount of money is a challenge for any organization, although there are donors within the community who are willing to contribute to the proposed improvements.

Even if the entire funding could be raised quickly, the costs of ongoing maintenance must also be considered.

Fees for the use of the grounds could help to offset the costs of maintenance and upgrade work, but this would require a steady stream of events at the grounds. It is not known whether the grounds would receive this level of activity if the improvements were completed.

The municipality is responsible for the rodeo grounds, along with other facilities such as the aquatic centre, the arena, playing fields and other parks throughout the community.

The department will examine its recreation master plan, likely this fall, to determine spending priorities for the coming year.

The upgrades to the rodeo grounds deserve further consideration, but the costs, initially and in the long term, must be weighed carefully before making a decision on this work.