by LAURA KEIL
The former bottle depot on Commercial Drive is the new home for the Valemount Area Recreation Development Association (VARDA).
VARDA has been operating out of the old visitor centre cabin located next to the Village of Valemount and Visitor Centre, which is owned by the Village. But VARDA GM Curtis Pawliuk says the tiny cabin didn’t allow for storage of VARDA’s equipment – snowmobiles, ATVs, groomers, tools, and signage that ended up scattered across the valley on private property, including in Pawliuk’s backyard.
The new building will allow for heated office space and a meeting room with the rest used as unheated storage.
Pawliuk says part of the impetus came from proposed developments that could make it harder to buy affordable property.
“Property is not going to go down, and this was our way to make sure we had a secure home in the future,” he says.
The building requires some renovations before they can move in – both inside and outside. Pawliuk says they hope to move in before September.
VARDA is a non-profit association, consisting of local businesses and backcountry users. It focuses on public education on backcountry use and aims improve the backcountry experience for all user groups.