Fernie residents came out to an open house last Wednesday to share their thoughts on the city’s current leisure services.
Fernie is revamping its Leisure Services Master Plan, which guides the City’s decision making when it comes to recreational programs, services, and facilities. The plan was last updated in 2004 and the revision process relies heavily on community input.
LEES and Associates, a landscape planning and design firm, has stepped in to help guide the development of the Master Plan.
The open house was held on February 27 and John Kirbyson, with LEES and Associates, was impressed to see just how many community members came out to weigh in on what they would like to see included in the new plan.
“I think things are going very well, we’re quite excited about the response we’ve gotten from the community. People were lined up at the door here today waiting to get in to give us their thoughts and opinions about the process,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of responses from our online questionnaire, so we’re sensing there is a lot of excitement and energy in the community for this. We spent last night meeting with a number of user groups, so we also have some good feedback on the needs and wants of the larger groups.”
Leisure services covers everything from the community centre, arena, and pool, to parks, playgrounds, and community trails. The hope is that the revised plan will reflect the values and needs of the community, and provide the City with direction for managing and developing Fernie’s leisure services over the next 10 years.
While Kirbyson said he heard a wide variety of comments from residents, he felt there was a common theme amongst them. “I think what we’re hearing overall is a desire to have the opportunity for lots of recreational amenities in the community.”
He went on to say, “There is a recognition that facilities are aging and we need to do some improvements. People also acknowledge that there are some tough decisions that need to be made about how we decide to move forward.”
LEES and Associates will take the feedback they receive at the open house, along with background information provided by the City, and bring back their initial recommendations at a second public open house in the spring. A final document is expected to be presented to council by the end of June.