What’s New: Rock Creek Riverside Centre is under Public Ownership

Rock Creek’s Riverside Centre gains strength under public ownership 

Residents, businesses and visitors in the West Boundary are set to benefit from a major change in the ownership and management of the Riverside Centre that promises to boost local services and promote wider community development.

The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) completed the purchase of the Centre this July with Federal Gas Tax funding and a short-term 5-year loan out of Area E Economic Development service.  This purchase was included in 2022 property taxes.  Trails to the Boundary Society (TTTBS) will manage it with existing staff and volunteers, making the not-for profit stewards a magnet for external grants and future development opportunities.  It’s projected that over $30K in annual rental revenue will be returned to Area E as a result.

“A large number of services currently run out of the centre. Our competent and forward-looking staff, coupled with a host of valuable community volunteers, ensures continued growth. Promotion of the West Boundary, its opportunities, and economic development, are foremost in our minds,” says Patricia Henley, the president of the Trails to the Boundary Society. “The partnership with the regional district opens a variety of components for increased services, grants and exciting opportunities moving forward,” she adds.

“This is an exciting milestone for the West Boundary. I’m grateful to the Rock Creek Farmers’ Institute and Osoyoos Credit Union for taking the bold step to purchase the land back in 2018 and finance the construction,” says Director Vicki Gee, Area E/West Boundary who spearheaded the move for the RDKB board to purchase it from its joint owners, which had formed a co-operative with The Trails to the Boundary Society and Boundary Family Service to lease the land and build it. “We had a vision for a community space that would be accessible daily to deliver free core services.  Due to the intensive service focus of the Centre, it made sense that local government own it,” she adds.

“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,“ says Alan Bajkov, Board Chair, Osoyoos Credit Union.  “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,” he adds.

“So much more than just a building, the Centre’s new owners understand the bigger picture we envisaged for it and will continue to uphold our values.  They’ll ensure it remains a central part of our rural life to enhance food security, bolster local business, support the agricultural community and entrust our heritage to the next generation,” says Ed Fossen, secretary of the Rock Creek Farmers’ Institute.

History buffs will know that Riverside was formerly a town site with 14 buildings which was initially developed in the late 1850s during the Gold Rush.

With free WiFi, EV charging stations, printing & scanning services, a drop in venue, Board Room and ‘hot office’ rentals, the centre is now home to a full service Visitor Information Centre, local artisan products, art and history books, Osoyoos Credit Union Office and ATM, Boundary Invasive Species office, WorkBC outreach through Community Futures, Boundary Family Services outreach, the Ministry of Children & Family Development, Boundary Women’s Coalition, a Community Integration Specialist (Ministry of Social Development & Poverty Reduction) and offers Tech Learning through the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy.

Under a New Horizons for Seniors grant, weekly educational sessions will be held through March 2023.  Hugely popular and of interest to all ages, a schedule of topics is promoted in the Kettle River Echo and West Boundary Connect for anyone who is interested in attending.