Rocky View County (RVC) is surveying residents to learn more about their recreation needs in anticipation of a new plan.
According to Theresa Cochran, executive director of Community Development Services, the municipality is conducting a county-wide assessment to determine its recreation, parks and community-service needs. While surveys of Langdon and RVC West have been completed in recent years, she said, the last time a county-wide survey was done was a decade ago.
“We’re surveying the rest of the County to help inform our Recreation Master Plan that we’ll be starting in 2020,” she said.
The Recreation Master Plan will identify future needs in terms of recreation, parks and pathways, Cochran said, with a focus on long-term planning – including an inventory of needed assets and the associated capital investment costs to fund them.
“We have to start thinking about that now, because we know we don’t have $160 million sitting in the bank in order to build facilities where we’re going to need them as we move forward,” she said.
The plan will also provide a methodology for how the County funds organizations – currently, there is no policy in place governing how dollars are distributed, according to Cochran.
The current survey is a key element in the creation of the Recreation Master Plan, she noted.
“We know that some of the smaller areas will not want anything beside maybe some pathways,” Cochran said. “Some of the larger hamlets will require more sophisticated recreation services.
“We’re trying to get a sense of what it is the County residents’ feel about their future recreation opportunities, so that when we do the Recreation Master Plan, we’re considering the county as a whole.”
The survey was mailed to residents, and is also available at rockyview.ca, and Cochran said it should take about 20 minutes to complete.
“The questions will be an assessment or an inventory of what you think is most important,” she said. “It’s very quick and easy. It’s a checkbox – what do you think are your most important outdoor amenities? What are your most important indoor amenities?”
There is an incentive to filling out the survey, she added – everyone who participates is automatically entered into a draw for one of two $100 Visa gift cards, which will be drawn following the survey’s Dec. 10 deadline.
“RVC is a very large county, so if people aren’t informing us through the opportunities we provide them, we don’t really know what they want,” Cochran said.
Recreation, she added, is crucial for physical, mental and social health.
“Recreation isn’t just about getting out for a run on the pathway, but it’s about that social connectivity to our communities,” she said.
Cochran said RVC will host an open house at the County Hall Dec. 12 at 3 p.m., following the conclusion of the needs assessment. According to Ines Cortada, community project co-ordinator with RVC, the County will also hold four open houses in January to share the findings of the survey. More information will be made available closer to the end of the year.
Meanwhile, council will consider a Recreation Master Plan budget adjustment Dec. 10, and once approved, the Terms of Reference and Request for Proposal for the project will be created before the end of the year.
“I have a fairly aggressive timeline,” Cochran said. “I can’t guarantee, but I’d like to see the master plan completed by end of second quarter [of 2020] so that we have the ability to start to implement it.”