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M.D. exploring rec park further as feasibility study is completed

The M.D. of Bonnyville will look deeper at the outdoor recreation park as the feasibility study has been completed.

Stephen Slawuta, RC Strategies + PERC presented the completed feasibility study to M.D. council during their committee meeting Wednesday.

The rec park includes two baseball diamonds and two softball/slo-pitch diamonds, four rectangular fields, eight pickleball courts, a Destination playground, a family day-use picnic area, a loop trail and non-serviced camping in the first phase.

If M.D. council were to pursue the project, it comes with a $24-million price tag over the three phases, which includes a 30 per cent construction contingency.

It does not include the purchase of land.

The study’s key findings was that there was relatively strong support for the project as 66 per cent of respondents said they were strongly or somewhat in favour of the project.

There may be capacity challenges during the peak seasons for ball diamonds and sports fields, the study concluded.

The potential site should include both spontaneous and structured spaces and would also require an operational subsidy to help with yearly costs.

The study suggested the next steps would be to identify where the park would go, refine the site and costs, begin partnership discussions of funding, all before the park would be developed.

The second phase would add an outdoor event space with amphitheater and a boarded outdoor rink.

Phase three would upgrade the camping services and add four baseball diamonds.

The M.D. recreation survey saw 38 per cent of people say they were very likely to use the park, while 35 per cent said it was not likely.

This directly matched the 38 per cent of respondents who lived within a 15-minute drive of Bonnyville and the 35 per cent who lived farther than 15 minutes away.

The M.D. tasked RC Strategies with the feasibility study in Janaury.

RC Strategies held two open houses at the Shaw House in the lead-up to the study.