Friday, January 31, 2014

Recreation in the Crowsnest Pass

Tuesday night Council and your Recreation committee met with RC strategies, a company out of Edmonton that is preparing a plan for our future recreational needs.  this study was commissioned by the previous council at a cost of $90,000. 

They began the process by mailing out surveys to all our residents and meeting with various user groups throughout the community. Tuesday night was all about telling us the results they found during that process.

The highlights:

Almost 3000 surveys were sent out and 86 community groups were given the opportunity to provide their input of which 23 did, they contacted 36 stakeholder groups of which 33 met with them.
Almost 600 surveys came back which the consultants told us is one of the higher rates of return they have seen.
Most respondents want to see the following (Top 5):

66% Aquatic Center
42% Fitness/Wellness
34% Walking/Running track
26% Community Hall/Banquet
23% Performing Arts Spaces


48% Walking/Hiking trail system
29% Ski Hill
26% Picnic areas
26% Dogs off leash area
25% Access to the river

Paying for more recreational needs (How much additional taxes would you pay per year?):

38% zero
32% up to $100
16% $101 to $150
8% $151 to $200
7% over $200

Obviously with a lot of interest the conversation turned to the issue of an Indoor multi use facility the consultants were asked the cost and the opportunity for fund raising and grants.

Minimum $20 million for a facility with a aquatic center, minimum $15 million for a facility without an aquatic center.

The consultants advised us there was a time when "some" of these facilities were funded on a one third basis each by the Federal, provincial and local level. They told us those days are long gone their advice having working on a lot of these types of facilities over the years that the best case scenario would be to raise 15% of the cost by a combination of fundraising and grants.

Cost of operating an indoor facility? they advised us a minimum of $750,000 per year. Dependent on how many programs we offered and the number of hours the facility would be open.

They told us that typically a community needs to have a population of 15,000 or more to successfully operate a facility of this type.

Based on the survey results only 31% of our population supported a tax increase of more than $100 if we did that it would bring in an additional $300,000 per year not even half of the operating cost of this type of facility. (Keep in mind we would save $150,000 a year by not running the out door pool).

The payments on a $20 million facility (assuming we were successful in fund raising and grants to the tune of the 15%) $17 million over 20 years at 3% $1,130,000 a year.

We will be receiving the full report prior to summer, that will provide us with a lot of statistical information and hopefully address some of the concerns with our present facilities.