M.D. sees draft of Rec Master Plan, pool ranked number one among priorities so far

The M.D. of Bonnyville got to see the first draft of their Recreation Master Plan on Wednesday.

The document looks to expand on the M.D.’s Recreation Needs Assessment that RC Strategies put together in 2018 and looks at strategies and priorities to guide the municipality in the years to come.

“We’ll get some additional feedback to the council once they’ve had a chance to kind of chew on things. That was really the point of yesterday was almost to give them a bit of a Coles notes or what to think about as they’re reading through it,” said Stephen Slawuta, RC Strategies.

“The next kind of big step is to get some feedback from the public and few organizations or stakeholders.”

While coming up with twelve strategies for the M.D. to adopt, the master plan also uses a formula  when prioritizing future projects.

In the first draft, an aquatics centre at the Centennial Centre was ranked number one.

However, M.D. council wants to review how the priorities were aligned and some that weren’t included.

Although a pool has been a popular want for Lakeland residents in recreation surveys, the location is not set in stone in the M.D.’s eyes, Reeve Greg Sawchuk suggested, as Cold Lake has expressed interest in the past in building a swimming pool at the Energy Centre as well.

“The aquatic center, they generally have a large drawing area, which would encompass, be it in Bonnyville or Cold Lake, it would encompass the other. People would travel that distance to use that facility. The Town has told us that an aquatic center for them could be many, many years off. Is the public willing to wait that long? Or is there another option?” said Sawchuk.

“I have put it out to both mayors that the M.D. can only afford to support one because we recognize one of these should be truly regional. We don’t think it makes sense to double up on some of these big dollar facilities.”

Final draft long ways off

This is the first draft of the study and will take a while to complete as it’s the first time where many ideas and potential directions are put into paper, said Slawuta.

M.D. council asked to see a larger inventory of all of the recreation spaces within the area and making sure stakeholder feedback is up to snuff.

“This could take a while to really hash out. It’s not something that we want to rush into either. So this could take many months to actually come up with the final plan.

“There’s too much information that’s missing. And we really have to dive into the criteria that was used for weighting projects. we also have some questions around the stakeholder engagement. So we want to ensure that all the stakeholders were adequately engaged and so that we have a clearer picture of where some of those needs are.”