The district of Sparwood is seeking feedback on its Recreation Master Plan. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Sparwood adopts recreation master plan

The majority of responses were supportive of the plan

A vast majority of respondents in surveys on the Sparwood 2030 Recreation Master Plan were supportive of recommendations within the plan, including the construction of a new multi-purpose indoor facility.

According to the district’s director of community and facility services, Duane Lawrence, only three areas within the plan received any sort of major opposition.

50 per cent of respondents were opposed or neutral towards any new potential high-quality indoor artificial turf, while 35.8 per cent were neutral or opposed towards developing a new riverside leisure park and public boat launch, and 45.6 per cent were neutral or opposed to enhancing opportunities for all-terrain vehicle, utility vehicle and snowmobile use in the areas adjacent to Sparwood.

The Sparwood 2030 Recreation Master Plan was presented to council for adoption at the most recent council meeting following public consultation.

Consultation revealed 80 per cent of respondents agreed that there was a need for new or enhanced recreation facilities within the district.

The issue of indoor space received a lot of attention as one of the recommendations within the draft plan before council had been to consider re-purposing the existing curling rink to allow for more space for other uses.

This option has been resoundingly rejected by the community and taken off the table by the council following a vigorous defense by the club and community, with 54 per cent of respondents opposing the potential action. Only 37 per cent were supportive.

At the same time, 76 per cent of respondents were supportive of a new indoor multi-purpose facility.

Mayor David Wilks said that the multi-purpose facility discussion would need to be greatly expanded on through consultation.

“If we move forward with the multiplex … in my humble opinion it should be a referendum question in 2023,” he said, noting the support indicated in the master plan.

“If you want it, you have to be willing to pay, because this doesn’t come cheap.”

Councillor Jason Christensen queried the low number of respondents (101), saying that it was not enough engagement, but Lawrence said that “if the public is generally supporting, or it’s not a hot-button issue, sometimes it’s difficult to get those numbers.”

The plan, which was adopted by council (Christensen opposed), does not lock the district into any of the actions contained within, but is instead a guide on possible recreational projects to pursue.

READ MORE: Sparwood Curling Club bats away master plan ideas
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