Public to help prioritize City amenities

  • Mar. 19, 2014 8:21 p.m.

The City is set to develop a ‘wish list’ and prioritize necessary community amenities and will turn to the public for help in doing so.

City council voted in favour of undertaking three phases of community involvement in the development of a community amenities plan and establish a Red Deer Multi-Use Aquatic Centre Review Ad Hoc Committee.

The public will have a number of upcoming opportunities to provide input in regards to community amenities.

Amenities may include everything from park nodes to facilities and other capital requests that compete for municipal funding and could have a substantial impact on the City’s capital plan.

The consultation process will start in mid-May when the City looks to Red Deerians to find out what amenities are top priorities. The City will be at ‘Let’s Talk’, in Parkland Mall, on April 12 to hear from Red Deerians for the first time as part of this consultation process.

Red Deerians would then be invited to attend the City’s annual budget open house on May 21 at the Red Deer Memorial Centre where that list will be further prioritized with the help of the community.

The purpose of the ad-hoc committee will be to advise council on the size, location, included amenities, cost and potential phasing and current and future needs of Red Deer. The committee will also consider the future of Michener Centre in terms of aquatic needs.

Shelley Gagnon, manager of the City’s recreation, parks and culture department, said the committee will use information already gathered from the Central Alberta Aquatics committee.

“This committee is not about whether we build or not build, the committee’s work is the confirmation of what will be built,” she said.

Councillor Lawrence Lee said he is in favour of moving forward with public consultation and establishing an ad-hoc committee.

“As a new councillor I’m very encouraged to see how this council is very deliberate and intentional to make sure there are numerous touch-points for the community to engage in,” he said. “There will be a host of channels and mediums to provide input on something that will effect the City for the next 100 years to come.”

Councillor Dianne Wyntjes said she is looking forward to the process.

“We hear different perspectives from a number of diverse citizens and there are certainly a number of competing interests with respect to amenities. I am excited about the process and I like that there will be many opportunities to have conversations with the community as well as hear from the diverse range of citizens from the youth to adults, families and seniors as well.”

Some councillors had concerns that the ad-hoc committee would be doing work that was already complete, but Mayor Tara Veer said that is not the case.

“The important part is this is exploring a vision that is currently on the books. I think that sometimes there is some misconception that the pool is going already forward in the community.”

Other councillors had concerns that the three months proposed for the ad-hoc committee to complete its works would not be enough time to come up with recommendations.

“I think three months is ample time,” said Lee. “We run a campaign in six weeks and we engage the public and we gather feedback.”

Council voted in favour of the motion. Councillor Buck Buchanan was absent.

The community amenity consultation will be complete by September to ensure it informs the 2015 capital budget and 10-year Capital Plan 2015 – 2024.