By Greg Price
Survey says… solid support for the concept of a fieldhouse in the community of Taber.
A committee had been struck to gauge interest in a possible multi-use dry sports facility in town which has already made presentations to both the Taber Recreation Board and Taber town council.
Part of the process was to draft a survey to be filled out by both Town of Taber residents and M.D. of Taber residents in which the final results are now in.
The study used an E- survey as the instrument to collect the data. An e-survey was created using FluidSurveys and a link to the survey was distributed to the community using social media. The Taber and District Facebook pages, as well as the Taber Buy and Sell, Vauxhall Buy and Sell, Horizon School Division, Holy Spirit School Division, the Taber Police Service, etc., all participated in delineating the survey.
There were 581 surveys that were returned completed with 100 per cent completion rate, although not every respondent answered every question.
Of the respondents, nearly 75 per cent came from Taber with 18 per cent coming from the M.D. of Taber with the other seven per cent coming from outlying areas (Vauxhall etc).
The survey asked how many people in your family would use the dry sports facility and the results netted the survey representing 2280 individuals living in the Town of Taber, the M.D. of Taber, Vauxhall and the other villages and hamlets within the M.D.
The 2011 census indicated there are 16,243 people living in the Taber region, as a result, the survey sampled 14 per cent of the population.
Nearly 88 of respondents said they would participate in activities within the dry sports facility with that number going up to 91 per cent in the positive when asked if they had family that would participate in activities in the dry sports facility.
Visions for the fieldhouse would have a multi-use concept, which included, but was not limited to, indoor soccer, rugby, lacrosse, a climbing wall, indoor running/walking track, batting cage, squash and racquetball courts, a large concert venue, a conference centre, multiple volleyball and badminton courts, combative area, a party room and concession.
“We wanted to thank everyone who did fill it out and we were really impressed with how well it was received,” said Wendy Millo, a member with the dry sports facility committee.
“It really showed that people are interested and supportive in building the multi-use facility we are proposing.”
A multi-use dry sports facility has been a dream of the committee for about three years now and have confirmed they have an investor in place that is willing to build the facility, with the caveat that there is an understanding the town would lease back the building over a period of time and eventually own it.
Committee members confirmed in their survey results that the participants were not given any financial information from which to weigh the benefit of use against tax increase or user fees.
“We are going to do up some plans and a cost-projection on the facility along with presenting these findings to the town,” said Millo.
In the conclusion portion of the Dry Sports Complex Community Survey, it noted there was confidence that over 85 per cent of the population would use the fieldhouse, which equates to 12,994 persons out of a potential of 16,243, using 2011 Stats Canada figures.
The main use of the complex would be the walking/running track, followed by indoor soccer.
However, around 50 per cent of the population agreed that they would participate in activities within the fieldhouse that don’t include sports.
By taking the total of the persons that said they would use the fieldhouse at least once per month, committee members ended up with a number of 55.8 per cent of the population, meaning over 8,121 uses of someone walking through the door and participating in some way.