The City of Cold Lake laid it all out for the residents at yesterday’s Open House. The Mayor, Craig Copeland, along with senior City Administration, and a handful of Councillors were available to the public to display the City’s long-term vision, as well as, answer any questions residents may have had regarding… anything! Mayor of Cold Lake, Craig Copeland, says the response he received from the community was positive.
“Feedback’s been excellent,” Mayor Copeland says people were very excited about Phase III of the Energy Centre, “I talked to people who have moved here from two provinces over, Manitoba, and they couldn’t get over the facilities the City has for kids.” The third Phase of the Energy Centre will include a second arena, a rock climbing wall, large gymnastics and dance facility and two additional field houses.
We’re a kid friendly Council, it’s all about keeping the youth busy in Cold Lake – Craig Copeland Mayor of Cold Lake
Designs for Phase III were on display and showed each level of the facility maximized and fully utilized. Really neat for parents was additional ways to keep children busy, the Mayor noted lots of parents bring their other kids to the arena with them, while one is playing hockey. The Energy Centre’s second arena will have a climbing wall enclosed and attached to in a warm, glassed, area. That way parents can watch one kid play hockey, while another burns off energy on the climbing wall. On the upper level of the second rink, there are plans to put in a mini-sticks area for kids to play while in-between games.
The two arenas will attach to the north, so additional parking and a new entrance will be designed. Councillor, Vicky Lefebvre, says this is something the people have asked for and Council answered. “More parking- that’s coming! Another entrance- that’s coming! It’s all in the works. People of Cold Lake, and surrounding areas, should be proud of what we have here and what’s available in the City.” There will also be a lounge arena between the two arenas on the second floor, which will allow for skybox style seating.
“This has been great, it’s one of the biggest Open House we’ve had. People get to actually see our vision for our future and they get to see exactly where we’re spending their tax dollars for the next ten years.” Councillor Lefebvre says the Open House was a great opportunity for the City to get in touch with the public, “it show’s all the work that we’ve done, underground and above ground. There’s a lot of stuff you don’t see that we’ve spent money on, like the sewers.”
“It would be great to do everything,” the Mayor says Council’s vision for what’s next is near limitless, “it would be great to do the Marina, the swimming pool, etc. I think the second arena’s badly needed, the north arena is over 60 years old. We did the Fire Hall, which was over 40 years old, we did the FCSS-Parent Link. Over the past couple years, we really have focused as a Council on buildings and programming that we didn’t have.”
Councillor Lefebvre says one of the goals of Councils is not to increase taxes, “we’re trying to keep the budget as low as possible, so we’re not getting tax increases. That should just come with increased assessments of the home, not the City. We’re trying to keep it low because we do recognize the economic situation of the residents. We do have to continue our plan for the future of the City.”
The Energy Centre is an exciting project that’ll affect a lot of people. I can’t imagine how many people will be affected over time. – Vicky Lefebvre Councillor for the City of Cold Lake
“In the next Phase, even though we talked about the hockey rink, dance and gymnastic’s is a big component, because the facilities aren’t the greatest for them. Council has recognized dance and gymnastics is a big component in Cold Lake, so we’re going to fit them in,” states Mayor Copeland. The architect has drafted plans to convert the existing field house into a large gymnastics and dance centre. The City worked with the clubs in designing a professional centre, with everything both clubs could need, or want, in one facility. There will be separate rooms for private or group lessons, board rooms for meetings, multiple change room facilities, and a large gymnastic’s floor. The space will keep the running track on top.
To accommodate the clubs taking over the field house, two new field houses will be build, attaching to the east. There will be meeting rooms and a large running track connected on the third level that will go around the full width of the two new field houses. Each corner of the track will feature a fitness centre.
People may not realize how much the Air Weapons Range money has improved the City of Cold Lake. We’re spending every money we get on fixing the community up. It’s about building out the community and you have to have a vision. What we’re trying to do is be open and transparent to people, here’s the facts. – Craig Copeland Mayor of Cold Lake
Mayor Copeland says he is confident that thanks to the ID-349 (Air Weapons Range) money, the City will be strong through the current economic downturn. “Every communication we’ve had with the NDP government, they respect the deal and think it’s great. It’s actually a template on how industrial assessment helps an urban community. We’re a template for the province. There’s other similar examples in Lac La Biche County and Strathcona County because they have urbans inside the counties. We feel Cold Lake is the same way with the industrial assessment, ID-349, coming in and helping an urban. We feel we’re a great example and we know the NDP government looks at it that way, too.”
Nothing was off limits for the City who blew up the 10-Year Capital Budget, along with plans for everything from sewer to transit, for all to see. If you missed the Open House and would like to know more about the City of Cold Lake’s plans, and budget, visit them at coldlake.com.