Regional recreation board has merit, says county

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SANDRA M STANWAY
Brooks Bulletin

County council has recognized since its 2016 recreation review that the patchwork approach to recreation needs to be weaved together.
In the director of corporate services report which was presented to council by CAO Kevin Stephenson, Layne Johnson noted there are many approaches to overseeing recreation in municipalities.
“It has also been acknowledged that a different approach towards overseeing recreation facilities should be considered to enhance facility utilization and to also ensure a broad lens is applied to future decision making processes regarding the future of facilities that may be nearing the end of their economic life,” he wrote.
In a formal request to the county by the city for a regional recreation board, Johnson noted forming such a board will be complex because facilities are managed many different ways across the region.
He suggested other municipalities will have to get involved in the process.
“The principle has merit and should be considered for the recreation function,” he wrote.
The early stages of the program’s development, he noted, should focus on the concept rather than the structure or scope of authority.
With facilities on the decline in the county there will be serious discussions that will need to take place regarding their future.
“A regional approach would help ensure that major decisions regarding the future of facilities or programs are not being made on a one-off basis,” Johnson wrote.
Wayne Hammergren, who is the councillor for Bow City, Scandia and Rainier said he doesn’t know how they will react to a regional board.
“All we’ve got is the halls and I’m not sure they’d be interested in a regional board. They are very comfortable in making their own decisions.”
The division has a community hall in each of the three communities and each has their own volunteer board.
Reeve Molly Douglass said there is really no message Hammergren can take to the meeting.
“We’re just looking at merits of a concept,” she said.
Stephenson said there is a consensus among CAOs to have user groups part of the committee, thereby setting up a two-committee structure, one that deals with operations and the other with governance and funding.
“The whole concept should be optional for those who want to participate and for those that do not.”
He believes the most important part is the capital long term plan which could pull the county in to help pay.
“If you have two arenas to replace in two communities do you replace them both?”
County councillors agreed if the other communities agree that a regional board is the way to go, terms of reference should be an agenda item.