Lacombe County invests in recreation

Lacombe and Sylvan Lake get $2.2 million from Lacombe County

Lacombe County has invested another $2.2 million in two major recreation projects by its neighbours.

On Thursday, county council approved an additional $1.4 million for City of Lacombe’s $13.7-million projected to renovate and expand the Gary Moe Autogroup Sportsplex, which was formerly known as the Lacombe Sports and Leisure Complex.

That funding help comes on top of just under $3.2 million the county previously committed to the sportsplex project.

Sylvan Lake is nearing completion on a major recreation complex of its own, the $33.5-million NexSource Centre. Lacombe County agreed to provide just over $800,000 towards that project on Thursday.

County council received funding requests from Lacombe earlier this year. But councillors held off making a commitment until they had a chance to tour the facility.

County commissioner Terry Hager said the visit proved useful.

“(Council) just had a better understanding of the complexity of the complex they have there,” he said.

Council opted not to share in the $736,000 cost of a new dressing room for the Lacombe Generals senior hockey team, which moved to Lacombe from Bentley this season.

“(Council) didn’t feel it was appropriate that they put money into that and, perhaps, the Generals should look after that themselves.”

The county bases its share of recreation funding on county usership numbers, which hover around 30 to 36 per cent depending on the facility.

Also approved was $29,700 for replacement of a van for Lacombe’s Family and Community Support Services and $5,280 for work on the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

There was some debate in council about how much should be given to Sylvan Lake’s project based on usership numbers. County usership was estimated as high as seven per cent, but council was skeptical.

“I think council were committed to the concept of paying for our users. They were just not confident in the numbers that were provided that represented our users,” said Hager.

Council opted to provide just over $800,000 based on usership of 2.8 per cent.

Should the percentage of county users prove higher once the facility has been up and running for a year, county administration would likely take another look at the issue.

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