Preparatory work is still needed for the Nelson Regional Sports Council before it can secure a seat and have a say on the Nelson and District No 5 Recreation Commission, the commission chairman said .

Keith Page said in a letter to the board on Thursday that someone from the NRSC needs to attend a few public meetings of the commission before a seat is considered – but an NRSC representative has yet to attend a meeting of the commission. commission in recent years, nor provided any public comment on the case prior to the commission.

“The commission strongly believes that any user group advocating for a permanent seat on the commission should first take the opportunity to attend public meetings of the commission,” Page wrote.

“It allows user group representatives to understand the work in progress and ask questions during public time.”

The Commission provides regulatory and financial guidance for City and Regional District-owned recreation facilities – including the Nelson and District Community Complex – and is made up of three City Councilors and two Regional District Directors.

On April 12, the NRSC sent an open letter to the community, saying it had been “ignored by the Rec 5 commission and municipalities until one of the recommendations put forward by the task force was paid for by community taxes.

The NRSC further requested a voice and a permanent seat on the commission.

Page said an invitation to the NRSC Open Forum on April 11 — which he attended — was not sent to all Central Kootenay Regional District (RDCK) commissioners and commission staff, voiding any attempt at “productive community dialogue” and “authentic and respectful engagement.

“In our view, the commissioners were not given the opportunity to attend, or were not given sufficient notice to allow the guest commissioners to attend – let alone the neighboring municipalities referenced in the letter” , he wrote.

Electoral Area F Director Tom Newell, who also sits on the commission, attended the forum.

In its letter, the NRSC claimed that all members of the commission had been invited to attend.

“Unfortunately, the Rec 5 commission representatives either declined via email or chose not to attend without declining except for two,” the letter reads. “The invitations were published and promoted over several weeks in local newspapers while being emailed directly to each of the Rec 5 commissions and other associations.”

The NRSC had hoped to foster “collaboration between the RDCK and municipalities and provide insight and balance of user groups” with a permanent seat on the commission.

But the opportunity for the NRSC to offer its input on the recreational scene in Nelson has been there, with commission meetings not closed to the public or user groups, Page said. In fact, user group delegations were welcomed to every monthly committee meeting, he said.

“We heard from a number of user groups as they navigated the challenges of COVID-19, long-term sustainability, growth and succession management, which clarifies the commission on opportunities and hurdles,” Page said. “Participation in public committee meetings of these user groups has led to the development of meaningful conversations and collaboration to resolve issues.”

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any issues in the delivery of the service, Page admitted. The NRSC letter implied a divisive environment with respect to recreation service delivery and access, with some sports groups unable to obtain adequate representation of their needs.

“We recognize that some user groups are frustrated with the planning and implementation of the long-term strategy for Nelson and District Recreation, and that there is frustration on the part of important rural participants in the Nelson-centric orientation of the past,” he said.

“These are the exact issues that the commission wrestled with to address the concerns of the services review that is currently underway.”

It all came back to the need for substantive work, Page said, with the NRSC encouraged to attend the public meetings – available on the RDCK website.

“Each of us has the opportunity to have a say in civic conversations. We encourage everyone to contribute with respect, thoughtfulness and righteous intentions,” he said.

NRSC Co-Chair Dave McCulloch could not be reached for comment until May 9, when he was contacted by email on April 24.