St. Albert is seeking input from residents on its two latest master plans.
The city plans to call 400 random homes to ask questions about the city's recreation and cultural opportunities and their potential over the next 10 to 15 years. The two plans, which will also have a consultant to help lead the process, were commissioned by city council during 2010 budget discussions.
Chris Jardine, general manager of community and protective services, said public feedback is the first of several data gathering missions in the next couple of months. He added there would be discussions with cultural and recreation groups throughout the city before the master plan committee started analyzing the information in October.
"We have no preconceived notions the plan will lead to this, that or the other thing," he said. "This public survey is to basically get a sense from the community at large."
The city last adopted a recreation and culture master plan in 1999, leading to the creation of Servus Credit Union Place. This time, Jardine said the city was aiming for a more strategic-based plan to map out what improvements were needed as St. Albert grows, but would not rule out the potential of new facilities coming out of the discussions.
Gail Barrington-Moss, the city's director of culture, said the 1999 plan only featured a small section about the city's cultural future, leaving little for them to work with. For that reason, Barrington-Moss said she lobbied for culture to get its own master plan.
"Culture needs its own plan and its own focus," she said. "Culturally, I want to see this city grow."
Barrington-Moss said her department is working on gathering internal information, such as best practices and work it has done in the past. However, it will be the feedback from both the public and those within the cultural community that will have the largest impact.
Although she states she is keeping an open mind, Barrington-Moss hopes the discussions lead to a better level of communication and support between the different arts and culture groups in the city. While she praised their work and dedication, she added that working with one voice could help all the groups involved.
"We work together very well, but we don't always speak with one voice," said Barrington-Moss. "I believe a number of programs and services are somewhat fractured throughout this community."
Coun. Roger Lemieux, who sits on the city's recreation and cultural master plan steering committee, said he expects to see residents questioning city spending plans on the two departments. While he said the two master plans were necessary for St. Albert's growth going forward, he added that it didn't mean council would start spending money.
"People will ask what we are planning, people will be inquisitive," he said. "Right now, I would have to say stay at the status quo until we expand the city."
Barrington-Moss said she was aware of the city's financial restrictions going into the master plan and is not expecting the city to spend money right away. However, it doesn't mean she won't hope that some of the potential suggestions come true down the road.