Recreation master plan a 20-year endeavour

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Brandon needs more sports fields and a new outdoors aquatics complex in the city, according to the new Recreation and Community Facilities Master Plan.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/05/2019 (1200 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brandon needs more sports fields and a new outdoors aquatics complex in the city, according to the new Recreation and Community Facilities Master Plan.

The plan was officially adopted by city council on Monday evening and outlines four strategic directions for the city to take. These include investing in the renewal of current facilities, enhancing the city’s delivery of recreation services, strengthening partnerships with the community and improving public participation in recreation.

Perry Roque, the City of Brandon’s director of community services, said the first step is to plan how the different recommendations will move forward and how to get the ball rolling.

Perry Roque

“We have lots of recreation happening across the city with lots of recreational groups, and we just want to look at that and how we can help them and still provide good quality recreation for everyone in the city.”

While the city currently has two outdoor pools, the Kiwanis and Kinsmen pools, both are over 30 years old and aren’t meeting the current needs of the community.

“We need to look at those and determine if we can rebuild at those sites or do we need to do this new site?”

A new outdoor aquatics centre would be a major project, and Roque said the city would first need to do an assessment and site plan for any future building. Currently, the master plan outlines a feasibility study and detailed design to happen sometime between 2020 and 2024.

The city has already made progress on a new outdoor sports field complex at the corner of First Street and Veterans Way with a study and conceptual design. The design was shown to the public in April and planned for a number of soccer and cricket fields. The current goal is to have some of the fields built in the next two or three years.

The new master plan is an update to the original Recreation Facilities Master Plan, which was approved in 2007. Roque said the major change in this update is the focus on programming and getting the public to participate in recreation.

Another change is the emphasis on the city providing services itself, a change from the past 20 years when the city was moving away from providing recreation itself.

“We believe it’s time for us to maybe take leadership roles in providing more recreation and services to our community.”

At the council meeting on Monday evening, Maureen Krauss, a consultant hired by the city to work on the update, said 1,200 people were consulted and around 40 people interviewed. She said people’s interests and activities are changing.

Krauss outlined several challenges for the new plan, including a current lack of available sports fields, ice rinks and pools, and few facilities in newer areas of the city.

There are also issues around city-owned facilities, which are largely 20 to 50 years old, and the growing costs to maintain them going forward.

Most city-owned facilities also only meet a “minimum” level of accessibility, Krauss said, something which people now want more attention paid to.

The recreation master plan update is meant to unfold over 20 years and Roque said the first planning stage is important for the future to ensure the changes actually happen. It is also important to keep the public engaged throughout so everyone knows how recreation in Brandon may change.

“It is a new vision for the City of Brandon, we believe that recreation is an essential service to a growing, healthy, vibrant community and recreation is a powerful tool that can advance a wide range of municipal objectives including public health, community belonging, neighbourhood development … and economic growth.”

» dmay@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @DrewMay_

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