By Greg Price
Initial meetings to try and craft a Regional Recreation Master Plan have been positive, it is now a matter of how many partners it will entail.
Aline Holmen, director of recreation for the Town of Taber and Danielle Hansen, chairperson for the Taber Recreation Board, approached M.D. of Taber council back in early June, in which response was favourable in joining forces with the town for the regional plan.
“The motion coming out of that was to approach the Village of Barnwell and the Town of Vauxhall to see if there was interest there. Also see if we can get funding and come back in the fall for an update. At that time, there wasn’t really any panic to it back then because we didn’t have any funding to move forward,” said Holmen at the Taber Recreation Board’s September meeting.
Recreation board member and M.D. of Taber councillor John Turcato added his council is meeting with all the different hamlets in Hays, Enchant and Grassy Lake to get a feel of what recreational programs they provide.
“They all have a bit different programs with what the different rec boards do,” said Turcato. “The M.D. council is pretty accepting of this idea and I think the hamlets will be as well. But we need input from the hamlets, they are the M.D’s responsibility, we have to involve them.”
The town has reached out to other areas of the province to see regional master plans being done in hopes of piggy backing off their experiences in the process for knowledge.
“We have three different regions. One of them has 11 municipalities partnering for a regional recreational master plan up north by Grande Prairie,” said Holmen. “They have all agreed to send me information. Two of them have agreed to share information, the other I’m still waiting on.”
Holmen added herself and Hansen have meetings scheduled in Barnwell and Vauxhall this week.
“They didn’t want to officially take it to their councils until they knew a little more about it first with some preliminary meetings,” said Holmen. “We need to know who our partners are on this before we can put it out as an RFP and get costs because we don’t know how big this is going to be. The more partners we have, the bigger the scope.”
Holmen noted the town applied for a grant for the Community Partnership Program, and was awarded it in 2016. The grant has a window of fall 2019 to be used.
“If we get all our ducks in a row and get our quotes and the tender out by November, we should be able to apply for this grant for 2019. And we got $200,000 for it the first time (in 2016). It is for plans and studies, but it’s all about co-operation.”