Sparwood EKCCU plans for the future

The Sparwood East Kootenay Community Credit Union location has some big plans for the future

The Sparwood East Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKCCU) location has some big plans for the future. An open house was held last week to show members and residents what EKCCU has in mind for the site the branch sits on.

“Obviously we wanted to have a branch here in Sparwood because the community is doing so well, but we also wanted to create a community feel,” explained Branch Manager, Eric Johnstone. “On the site here, the intention is to build a space where people will get out of their cars and walk around, because that’s not something that happens to a high degree here in Sparwood.”

The development plan includes a new access point to the branch from Aspen Drive, a rope and rocks style playground, as well as a possible site for retail or commercial space.

EKCCU has recently leased out the former RCMP building located on the site to the Michel-Natal Heritage Society, but is planning on expanding the structure to include two condos above the museum’s new home. Johnstone commented, “What the District of Sparwood is really promoting right now is mixed-use areas, so commercial mixed with residential. They are giving incentives for businesses to do that through their tax system.”

The open house was held from March 4 through 8 to give the community a chance to share their opinions on the possible development. Johnstone said it had been a busy week, with many people stopping by to check out the plans and give some feedback. He also made sure to remind residents that the development plan was not set in stone.

“These are all just ideas right now,” remarked Johnstone. “What has to happen for them to come to fruition, is the board of the credit union has to commit to them, as well as the District has to agree with them.

“It’s a lot and I’m not sure that we would do it all this year. We could be phasing it in, you have to think about dollars and you have to think about time for construction.”

Johnstone went on to say, “One of the nice things about working at the credit union is that they want to do things that help the community improve. This could be our small way of helping to improve this section of Sparwood.”