A Servus Place for Sturgeon County?
Draft plan floats new rec centre with indoor pool
By: Kevin Ma
| Posted: Wednesday, Jan 16, 2013 06:00 am
Sturgeon County residents should band together to build a new regional recreation centre with an indoor track, pool, and field house, says a draft report.
About 60 people came out to an open house on the proposed Regional Recreation Plan Thursday at Morinville’s Community Cultural Centre. Similar events were held at Gibbons and Villeneuve earlier in the week.
Morinville, Sturgeon County, Bon Accord, Gibbons, Legal and Redwater have formed a Sturgeon Regional Partnership to create a recreation plan for the county region, explained Justin Ellis of Stantec Consulting, which is co-ordinating the plan.
“There’s major population growth that’s happening in the region,” he noted. The region has grown about nine per cent since 2011, according to the draft report, and could grow 45 per cent by 2031. That will mean new demands for sports centres and fitness programs.
This plan, when complete, will outline how the region should manage its recreation facilities and sports fields over the next 25 years.
It makes more sense to do one plan for the region rather than having everyone go his own way, said Debbie Oyarzun, chief administrative officer for Morinville. It also allows for cost sharing and more provincial funding.
And it would address the question of funding. The Town of Morinville has had an ongoing dispute with Sturgeon County over the amount the county pays the town for use of its facilities. This new plan would definitely address the region’s recreation funding formula, Ellis said.
The region has about $47.9 million in sports fields and facilities, the draft said, about 81 per cent of which are in reasonable condition. “There’s a lot of recognition that the facilities are aging,” Ellis said, with most having about 11 years of life left.
While most residents were within a 10-minute drive of these facilities, Ellis continued, there were some exceptions. The region had no indoor pool, for example, and was short on indoor fitness space.
The draft report recommends the construction of a regional recreation centre that’s multi-purpose, multi-generational and competition quality.
There’s a strong demand for such a place coming from residents, Oyarzun noted. The Sturgeon Regional Partnership hasn’t picked a place or design for the centre yet, she emphasized, but it would make the most sense to put it somewhere that’s already serviced. The centre could have a field house or an indoor pool, and could replace Morinville’s aging arena.
Open house attendees were asked to comment on the draft plan’s principles, placing coloured stars on a chart to show their support and writing suggestions on sticky notes.
Morinville resident Annette Holterman said she heads into St. Albert to use Servus Credit Union Place all the time, and would love to have something similar to it closer to home. “Our time is valuable. We want to be able to spend it not having (to spend) an hour on the road.”
A new recreation centre in Morinville would also give youth a place to hang out, said town resident Mireya Watson, instead of just sitting around at home bored. That centre should definitely have an indoor pool, as most people enjoy swimming.
The draft also recommends better co-ordination when it comes to promoting recreation, Ellis said. “We’ve heard people say, ‘I live in Morinville. I don’t know what the recreational opportunities are in Redwater or Legal,” he said as an example, while others said they were unaware they could use facilities at the Edmonton Garrison.
A final draft of the plan should be ready by February, Ellis said.
Copies of the draft, as well as a link to an online survey, can be found at www.sturgeoncounty.ca by clicking “Government” then “Public Input.” Comments or questions should go to firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-389-2510.