Sunday, March 24, 2013

Recreational & Cultural Executive Summary Leads to Action

Last week, I wrote that “…because it’s been discussed and desired for many, many years, Council recently approved the development of a business case for community recreational facilities.”

Some people asked me to identify what prompted these actions and, others, what is intended by them.

In November 2012, Council asked staff to develop an Executive Summary of the recreational and cultural reports that various Councils have received over the years. Why? As part of a creative problem solving educational session, Council identified reasons for such a report:
Council is interested in the best way of developing the Town-owned-lands in East Fonthill (32 acres at Regional Road 20 and Rice Road) in conjunction with other property-owner groups;
Council wants to define the recreational and cultural services the Town needs now and into the future;
Council wants to stay focused on deciding what to do with Town facilities and those Town-owned-lands.

On 3 December 2012, staff presented an outline of the relevant reports from 1990. The brief summarizes four consultant reports – from 1990, 2001, 2008, 2010 – and three staff reports – one from 2000, two from 2010.

The Executive Summary’s conclusion states, “It is clear that there has been considerable study and work conducted in an attempt to determine the recreational and cultural needs of the community. Although details differ (Twin Pad Arena v. Community Centre) it is abundantly clear that since 1990 the community has consistently voiced a need and desire for a new twin pad arena, new pool facilities and a community wellness centre.”

Since I do not have enough room here to summarize the Executive Summary, I encourage you to read the eight-page document yourself; please ask for it from the Town Clerk’s Office or download it by clicking here.

What did Council do after receiving the report? First, Council directed staff to work together with the other landowner developing along Regional Road 20; he owns 42 acres of mostly commercial lands and hopes to begin the first-phases of construction in 2014. Second, while the community “has consistently voiced a need and desire” for recreational and cultural facilities, the Town has yet to test the business case; therefore, Council directed staff to develop a “business case for community recreational facilities.” Finally, since there have been many discussions about the value of the Town-owned lands over the years, Council directed staff to get an appraisal on the property.

You and your neighbours will be invited to be part of further recreation and cultural discussions and decisions for Pelham in the coming weeks and months.