And the Survey Says…

The Town of Bonnyville’s recreation survey results were presented to Council at Tuesday’s regular meeting. With over a thousand responses the majority of people in the town and MD would like to see a new swimming pool. Coming in second and third were a Fine Arts facility and the Centennial Centre (C2) expansion.

The survey was sent out to help Council determine where their focus should be when applying for a Federal grant, Investing in Canada’s Infrastructure Program (ICIP). If successful with an application, the grant could fund up to 50 percent of the project.

Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski said it’s possible for the town to get all three, “of those returned 54.3 percent were in favour of the pool, 19.6 percent for the Arts Centre, and 12 percent for the C2 expansion.”

“In essence, we have the top three, they all involve the expansion of the C2,” Mayor Sobolewski explained that both the pool and theatre could be part of Phase II of the C2.

“The general intention inside the survey was that [people] want more activities and more things to do at the C2,” in the survey there were suggestions that the library be moved to the C2 and that the pool be designed like Sherwood Park’s Millennium Place; an indoor slash area, wave pool, lazy river, hot tub and lane swimming.

“They want a big and grand facility like the Bold Centre or Sherwood Park.”

The next step is to sit down with the Municipal District (MD) of Bonnyville and review the survey results, “to see if it’s reconciling with the work that they are doing.”

The survey was completed by 1303 people, with 629 from the town and 674 from the MD, the mayor said he is pleased with those numbers, “when you take the total population of the area, that’s quite a good return.”

“That ratio, between the town and MD residents, is very similar that you see in the high school, and currently what we do at the C2 – a 50/50 split,” any expansion project talks would have to include the MD, explain the mayor.

The voice of the residents is clear that recreation is the focus they would like to see, he said, “that’s the big take away.”

Sobolewski also sits on the C2 board and says they will likely bring out storyboards and plans from the original build, which included some of these items. To see what was the original plan and how it can mesh with the current wants/needs.

“More importantly, we want to make sure that by the time August rolls around, when we notify the Province of our application. There’s going to be a lot of competition for this grant,” Mayor Sobolewski said he believes the focus should be more on a general expansion of the facility, to include multiple elements. “86 percent of the respondents were talking about issues with the expansion of the C2, that’s huge.”

Other set responses were dog park (10%) and the outdoor rink (5%). Some add in responses included a movie theatre, larger indoor kids’ play centre, and outdoor pickleball courts.

Over the next few months, there will be a lot of work to make sure the application is completed in good form, “there will be a lot of dialogue with our partners in the MD and our indigenous neighbours.”