Lacombe scales back recreation planning

Lacombe County has scaled back a recreation plan to keep it close to the $100,000 budget.

Lacombe County has scaled back a recreation plan to keep it close to the $100,000 budget.

The regional recreation plan was commissioned by the county last year and is designed to serve as a blueprint for how recreation is developed.

Just over $37,000 has been spent so far on the first two phases of the plan being created by Calgary-based CDC Consultants.

Initially, six phases were proposed. However, the cost to complete all phases was pegged at $176,925, so county administration asked for changes.

To keep the project within budget, a plan to develop and implement a policy for facility development and maintenance has been dropped, along with a parks, trails and open spaces plan.

Council voted on Thursday to spend $63,250 on a third and final phase for the plan.

It will include a recreation facility inventory, a recreation needs assessment, including a phone survey, and the development of a recreation cost-sharing model for the county and its urban municipalities. A series of open houses will be held to gather input later this year.

County Reeve Ken Wigmore said the consultants expect the last phase to take about six months to complete.

“There was a little bit of debate but we are doing the survey, including the telephone survey.

“We will go ahead with the plan as recommended,” he said.

“I think what council is looking for is some direction and some means of consulting with our ratepayers.

“Right now, it seems to be ad hoc.”

Wigmore said the county expects to face a growing number of requests from urban municipalities within its boundaries for financial recreation help. The dollar amounts will also likely increase as communities look to replace aging facilities.

“We also have to realize that some of our smaller communities can’t afford the multimillion-dollar structures. I’m not sure some of the bigger ones can afford them either.

“Hopefully, (the plan) will give us a road map to go down.”

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