Stakeholders share similar views on future rec centre

Council gathered Thursday night as the steering committee for the new rec centre. – Lucie Roy Photo

by Tristan Turner

Town Council, in their role as arena/rec steering committee, met Thursday night to hear Consultant David Ramsey’s report on the stakeholder meetings he facilitated in Morinville in January. While the meeting was public, only one non-press resident attended.

Ramsey gave a report on the outcome of meetings. There was also a prepared written report supposedly sent over a week ago, but Council did not receive it due to an unknown issue, according to CAO Oyarzun.

The meeting broke out the interest the groups had in certain amenities. The biggest priorities from across all groups were a large enough, and suitable hockey arena, followed by a fieldhouse, as well as curling and a running track. Aquatics also ranked high.

Half of the groups did not want any school to be a part of the facility, citing scheduling and safety concerns. A library being present at the facility was prioritized for three of the six groups.

Other topics covered in the report are the challenges groups expected for the facility, and how they hoped to see the facility built. Common priorities for the groups were to include local small business in the facility, with some participants explicitly saying they don’t want any chain businesses a part of the facility.

In terms of extra functionality, many user groups – including the business group – hoped the new centre would be able to hold expo-like events to bring in new business opportunities to the region.

Concerns about the construction process included expressly wanting the structure to be built at once without ‘under or over building’. Other concerns included the long-term financial feasibility of the facility, including its potential impact on taxes and partnerships that can be made to offset costs.

The meeting concluded with a discussion about how to conduct further meetings with these community groups. The steering committee ultimately decided to hold an additional meeting with the user groups after an open house meeting for the public where ballpark figures associated with different construction types, amenities and services would be presented.

An update on the current condition of the Ray McDonald sports Centre will be presented to Council Mar. 10. Mayor Lisa Homes also shared the new project must be completed within the next five years in order to be eligible for provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) funding.

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