The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary has purchased a community facility in Rock Creek in a bid to keep the services it offers going.
The Riverside Centre, which opened a few years ago, is home to a variety of things including the local branch of the Osoyoos Credit Union, the visitor information centre, and the offices of several government agencies and non-profit societies.
“Due to the intensive service focus of the centre, it made sense that local government own it,” West Boundary regional district director Vicki Gee said in a news release.
The land was jointly owned by the Rock Creek Farmers Institute and Osoyoos Credit Union, while the building was owned by a co-op that included those two organizations plus Trails to the Boundary and Boundary Family Services.
Trails to the Boundary will continue to manage the building, using existing staff and volunteers. Since its incorporation in 2015, the society has grown from a single trail co-ordinator to eight year-round positions (not all full-time) plus three seasonal positions and 11 volunteers who keep the building open seven days a week much of the year and six days a week through the winter and part of the shoulder season.
“Promotion of the West Boundary, its opportunities, and economic development, are foremost in our minds,” trails society president Patricia Henley said in the release. “The partnership with the regional district opens a variety of components for increased services, grants and exciting opportunities moving forward.”
“The Riverside Centre is in good hands as it enters its next stage and we’re pleased to have kickstarted the legacy it will ultimately create,” added Alan Bajkov, chair of the Osoyoos Credit Union board.
“Its new stewards will continue to ensure it remains driven by community need and will steer it forwards to stimulate growth, improve lives and strengthen the prosperity of our local economy to the benefit of the region.”
The purchase price was not disclosed, but Gee said the sale was completed in July through $100,000 in federal gas tax funding and a five-year loan. The RDKB expects rental revenue will return $30,000 to the area annually.
Gee, who spearheaded the purchase, said the building came about when the credit union was looking to open a local branch, but found rental options limited.
Despite the many organizations that have since come on board and the growing number of services the Riverside Centre offers, Gee said it became clear that it would be difficult to keep the building going under its former financial model.
“It just makes sense that it be more of a service-driven model than a business-driven model,” she said.
The centre offers free wifi, electric vehicle charging stations, printing and scanning services, and meeting space rentals. It’s also home to WorkBC outreach through Community Futures, the Boundary Women’s Coalition, and the Kettle River Echo newsletter.