City council working to expand recreational opportunities in Chestermere

City council working to expand recreational opportunities in Chestermere
The Committee of the Whole is working to ensure the needs of recreation groups in the community is met by reviewing the draft terms of reference for councils’ task force on minor sport development. Photo/Metro

City administration's recreation redesign survey had more than 700 responses.

Chestermere City Council is moving forward with public engagement on a new recreation centre project.

In December 2022, city administration issued the recreation redesign survey, asking what kind of recreational opportunities residents want to have in the city.

City Director of Corporate Services Kim Wallace presented the survey results during the Jan. 17 council meeting.

The survey had more than 780 respondents, with 82 per cent believing the city should own and manage the community recreation centre.

“82 per cent said a new recreation centre is very important to them and their families,” Wallace said.

Swimming, hockey, indoor soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, pickleball, a  skate park and pump track park, splash park, and a park area for concerts and outdoor plays, were among the top activities and amenities respondents wanted to have at the recreation centre.

Respondents said they wanted the pool for play, swimming lessons, and competitive swimming.

More than 80 per cent of respondents said twin skating rinks would be valued by residents and provide the opportunity for tournaments in Chestermere.

The majority of respondents were in favour of the concept of a sports hotel with a restaurant on site that would support teams and tournaments, that would also help pay for the pool.

Respondents also said yes to having a senior meeting and activity space, a library, and a business centre for local not-for-profit groups in the recreation centre.

City Councillor Sandy Johal-Watt suggested city administration shift their focus on determining how much residents are willing to pay for recreational services in the community.

“We’ve touched on residents wanting the services, now let’s put on the lens of user fees, and take this survey to the next level,” Johal-Watt said. “We’re getting one step closer, but how much are you willing to pay with your tax dollars, because it’s one thing to build it, but it’s another to use it.”

Mayor Jeff Colvin explained council’s goal is to ensure residents have as many recreational amenities as possible while paying attention to costs, and not impacting the tax base.

“It’s a step-by-step process,” Colvin said. “It’s very exciting for Chestermere to get something like this.”

Going forward, Wallace is mandated to reach out to local recreational groups and organizations about the recreation centre and present the concept idea.

“At this point, because we’re at the presentation idea stage, nothing is confirmed,” Wallace said.

Colvin said it’s important to begin discussions with recreation groups, gather their feedback and ideas on the concept idea and build a framework.

“It’s a great idea to go talk to user groups, and get moving onto the next steps,” Colvin said.

“This is a starting point, there might be some concerns that this is an ending point,” City Councillor Shannon Dean said. “That educational piece is really important, there’s a perception for some that we have enough arenas, but as we have more residents coming in, we’re going to see registration in all sports go up.”

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