John Kacik reflects on eight years with rec board
May 27, 2016
John Kacik finished serving his second and final term on the Fraser Valley Recreation District Board of Directors on May 24. He served for eight years and has seen the program go through some drastic changes both financially and physically.
"Eight years ago I was very excited to see what I could do for the rec district. I thought I had a lot to offer at that point," Kacik said. He entered the board during a controversial time period when taxpayers were skeptical of how the Fraser Rec district was going to spend their bond money.
"There was a lot of controversy and it was a contentious process from the beginning," he said. But then the community started to see what the rec center was accomplishing and many opinions changed. They started seeing projects like the Icebox Ice Rink, the clubhouse at Pole Creek, and the Fraser Rec Center being constructed. "People realized that what we were trying to do was a good thing, and we were using taxpayer dollars responsibly," he said.
The board of directors was able to hire a business manager for the district, reconstruct the bond debt twice to save taxpayers money, and create a new reserve policy for rec district facilities. They saw the importance of looking to the future and being prepared for projects that use taxpayer money:
"We thought it was really important to build these reserves so we could plan ahead for things that happen like replacing a roof that needs to be replaced," Kacik said. By having reserves, the board would not have to keep returning to ask for more money every time a project needed to get done.
The ice rink project started with the district having only enough money to build a bathroom at the sports complex in Fraser, but they had a bigger vision for the potential of the area. They started looking for more money and were eventually able to get grants, private donations, and money the district already had. The end product was the beautiful facility that allows the Fraser Valley Hockey Association to practice and play home games.
Kacik wants to see the rec district continue to thrive in the future. He hopes to see them continue partnerships with private businesses and local government, and continue to be a leader in community involvement with all age groups in the county. Raising teens in mountain towns can be a tough job, so Kacik hopes to see the rec district continue to reach out to the local kids by creating more opportunities for them. He referenced the popularity of the Granby soccer dome and said he hopes to see some sort of field house or year-round facility at the sports complex in Fraser so youth can play sports that are not possible in the winter. Other projects he hopes to accomplish are the installment of a refrigeration system for the Ice Box Ice Rink and the completion of paving the golf cart paths at Pole Creek.
He is not worried about the future of the board of directors because of the hard work and dedication put in by Director of Parks, Recreation, and Golf, Scott Ledin. "Regardless of who ends up on the board I think they will be in good hands," Kacik said. "Scott is always reaching out to the towns and is so involved with the community."
Kacik plans to take at least a year off from serving on boards in the county to spend time with his family. He pointed out it was his family that allowed him to do so much civic duty: "I would have never been able to do this kind of work without the support they gave me, and saying it's ok that I won't be home one Tuesday a month, during special meetings and occasional grand openings."
Kacik has lived in Grand County for about 24 years and participates in many outdoor sports including kayaking, mountain biking, fly-fishing, archery, hiking, and telemark skiing. He also coaches CrossFit in Fraser.