An overflowing Ashcroft Council Chamber listened to the Rodeo Association’s presentation.

An overflowing Ashcroft Council Chamber listened to the Rodeo Association’s presentation.

New rodeo grounds going to public meeting

The Ashcroft Rodeo Association is hoping that the Village will provide some land in The Dunes for new rodeo grounds.

The Ashcroft Rodeo Association has made a pitch to the Village Council to move the rodeo grounds to a portion of land off of Mesa Vista Dr. in an area known as The Dunes overlooking the Thompson River.

Council’s response is to call for a public meeting for input.

Association members Heather Philpot and Trace DeBoer made the presentation to Council at its March 23 meeting. They brought a map of The Dunes to illustrate their needs.

Philpot said they’ve talked to the Ashcroft Band about land on the Reserve, they’ve spoken to the government about nearby Crown land, they’ve even looked into using part of the Ashcroft Ranch.

“Our first preference is The Dunes,” she said.

It’s removed and isolated from current property owners, continued Philpot, has easy access for vehicles, will only be disruptive for one weekend of the year and has the necessary 10 acres of land.

She said the group would be willing to lease or purchase the land, giving the Village first option to repurchase the property.

The is another five acres of land there being reserved for a new school. Philpot said that would be their second choice if the school district no longer wants the land. However, that would involve separating the rodeo grounds into two pieces of property with a buffer of Crown land between them. It would, however, mean that the Association would be asking for less “buildable” land.

“This is the largest special event weekend in Ashcroft,” said Philpot. “It means a huge influx of people and money.”

Not everyone thought it was a good idea, however. One couple in the audience preferred to look at The Dunes without the Rodeo’s fencing and equipment. Councillors Barbara Roden and Al Mertens were concerned about the increase of traffic on the mesa during rodeo weekend.

“Whether it has to have geotech (study) or not, it is developable land and that has to be considered,” said Mayor Jack Jeyes.

The date for a public meeting has not been set. Allen reminded Council that the land may have to be rezoned to accommodate the rodeo.

With the permission of Council, Association members will be placing stakes in the ground to show where they would like to place the grounds, to give everyone a better idea of the exact location they are hoping to use.