Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Maybe" Now, But Answers Soon

So many people have asked me recently about issues that form part of the Recreational Facilities Committee’s mandate.

People ask: “What are you doing with the arena?” “Are you building a twin-pad?” “When are we getting a skateboard park?” “What’s the future of the pool?” “What about an art centre and theatre?” “What’s going on with the Town’s property at Rice Road and Regional Road #20?”

Quite frankly, we are not yet able to answer these questions yet. All we can say now is “Maybe.”

As you know, Council and I have prided ourselves and Staff as being known for action and for improving the Town in so many ways. We have worked diligently to find workable solutions and to build a better future for our community.

That’s why it was agreed at our February 21 Council meeting that the Recreational Facilities Committee will meet as soon as possible in March and restart the work to finalize these recreational issues.

You may recall that Council established a Recreational Facilities Committee in 2008 to review the future of all Town recreational facilities – arena, outdoor pool, sports fields, and parks. The committee assembled all recommendations from the many previous recreational studies and began work to determine the Town's short- and long-term recreational needs.

In July 2009 the Committee tabled an Interim Report. Council received the report and directed staff to hire an architect to develop a functional analysis and to refine the capital and operating costs based on the recommendations.

The architects held a couple of workshop sessions for user-groups in October 2009 and January 2010, and presented a draft report to the Committee in March 2010.

Staff presented another draft report to Committee members in September 2010. Then, when membership on the Committee changed because of the Municipal election, new members were given the draft report in early 2011. The Committee last met in June 2011 and was to have discussed a final report in July / August. However, as a result of the resignation and retirement of two Staff primarily responsible for the work, the process paused.

Now, with the work reactivated, I look forward to the Committee finalizing the report and presenting its recommendations to Council late spring / early summer. Then, the report will be made available publicly so that you and others can provide significant input and assist with decisions.

So, despite being only able to answer “Maybe” now, I hope that Council can make recreational facilities decisions before the end of 2012.