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Community & Recreational Spaces

Rocky View County is moving forward with planning a new community facility in Springbank.

 

The project will be located on the lands adjacent to Springbank Park For All Seasons.  This land - approximately 70+ acres, will be the hub of new community amenities. 

Kids in Art Class

Objectives:

  • Advocate Rocky View County for robust community engagement in recreation planning

  • Participate in the community centre planning process with a view to creating a purposeful, well-loved community space that can sustain - economically and operationally - over the years

  • Contribute to grass-roots initiatives to enhance existing community spaces and build new spaces for our community to gather

Take a few minutes to complete our survey on the proposed facility concept and other high impact recreation items in the community.  

RVC is on the wrong track with the SR1 Recreation Reserve Fund

On September 26, 2023 we appeared before the recreation governance committee to recommend changes to the proposed policy governing the SR1 Recreation Reserve, originally $10M as compensation to RVC from the Alberta Government.  In 2021, RVC acquired land adjacent to SPFAS for approximately $2M, using these funds. 

 

Background:

This policy was developed by RVC administration WITHOUT ANY engagement with Springbank residents or the SCA.

The draft policy is available here

You can watch the video here, starting at 3:57

What we wanted: for RVC administration to work with Springbank residents and the SCA to arrive at a policy that makes sense for Springbank!

What they decided: To effectively ignore our request for engagement!

Discussion: This policy should be bottom-up, not top-down. It should be a FOR SPRINGBANK, BY SPRINGBANK approach.

 

ISSUE #1

The policy includes a statement directing "The funds held within the Springbank Recreation Reserve will be allocated to the development of the Community Event Centre outlined in the Business Case and RPMP."

 

What we wanted: Remove reference to Community Event Centre from Policy.

We disagreed with the directive to use the funds for the Community Event Centre which we felt too restrictive and instead proposed referencing the RPMP ("Recreation and Parks Master Plan"), which would give the community more latitude for the funds.

 

What they decided: Instead, the RGC did the exact opposite of our recommendation and removed references to the RPMP in lieu of the exclusive reference to the Community Event Centre.

 

Discussion: Our view is that RVC should fund the Community Event Centre, which was listed as a priority project in the RPMP. We disagree vehemently that the SR1 funds should be used to build a facility that that has been identified as a critical infrastructure component in Springbank.

 

ISSUE #2

What we wanted: Allow the community to apply to use some of the interest generated in the fund for community projects rather than have the interest used for "land maintenance". We proposed an option to have up to 50% of the interest in the reserve from the prior fiscal year to be available for projects that enhance the community's recreational or cultural amenities.

What they decided: RGC rejected our recommendation in favour of allocating all the funds to one project.

 

Discussion: Our view is that the money can be stretched to positively impact the community (develop the park on the purchased land, begin to build amenities such as pickleball or basketball courts, etc and using a portion of the interest would be worthwhile to consider.

ISSUE #3

What we wanted: Empower the Springbank community to develop a resident committee that would make recommendations on the use of proceeds.

What they did: Nothing - they didn't even seem to consider this.

Discussion: This policy should be circulated within Springbank for comment prior to heading to Council for voting!

Springbank Community Centre - RVC needs to check in with Springbank! 

Watch out comments to the Recreation Governance Committee at Rocky View County on September 27.  Watch the video here, beginning at 1:53 (Springbank Facility) and 3:57 (SR1).

Our View: RVC has this draft facility wrong. See here for the results of a survey we released over the summer.

Why we disagree with the concept.

  • The Stakeholder Engagement process was shoddy:

    • Approx 10 hours (over approx 16 months) of meetings between a small group of stakeholders (and not all invested in the project) and a RVC consultant resulted in the recommendation;

    • The 10 hours was largely the consultant presenting with little debate and discussion by the groups with NOT ONE document provided to the stakeholder committee to take back to their groups;

    • 10 hours is laughable and is NOT SUFFICIENT to plan a facility for Springbank and not enough to be considered community engagement;

    • The final concept was NEVER presented to the SCA or any other stakeholder - including the COMMUNITY - until the report was completed;

    • The process did not allow for ANY engagement from the broader community along the way - not one document was provided to share from RVC even to the stakeholder group, electronic or otherwise so the there was no opportunity to check in with the community or even our Board with thoughts or recommendations along the way.
       

  • For $15M, we can do better than a large banquet-type space:

    • We do not need 15,000 sqft of meeting rooms and a banquet hall for 200 seated;

    • We cannot see a path forward for the economics of such a facility.
       

  • Survey after survey has shown the most desirable amenities are:

    • Indoor fitness

    • Indoor walking / running track

    • Gymnasium

    • Teen spaces 

    • Childcare
       

  • None of the phased proposed for Springbank have any of the above amenities.

IT IS TIME FOR RVC TO COME TO SPRINGBANK ON THIS TOPIC!  

Division 1: Kevin Hanson - 403-463-1166 - KRHanson@rockyview.ca

Division 2: Don Kochan - 587-435-7172 - DKochan@rockyview.ca

Comparison: Langdon is receiving a $35M rec / community centre with a hall, fieldhouse, indoor track, library, lease space, seniors activity space and more - see more.

2023 RVC Recreation Funding Update

Our View: This policy is archaic. It is in desperate need of a make-over and RVC has taken a cursory stab and an update largely based on how much a project costs relative to how much the supporting organization needs to kick in to support it. 

KEY CHANGE #1: From requiring 50% contribution to 50% community cost sharing for small projects (<500k), 30% community cost sharing for medium projects (500k-999k) and 15% community cost sharing for large projects (<$1M). 

OUR OPINION: This is a terrible change for the following reasons:

  • A community organization needs to provide $250K for a 499k project but only $150k for a project costing $1M.
     

  • This policy still ties funding to the ability of the supporting organization to fund their share rather than using merit as the deciding factor for funding.  Unfortunately, the most impactful projects will not have adequate community financial contributions (think, river access parking lot or community tennis courts).  The result will be controversial projects that are funded by the County purely because the supporting group has funds, examples:

    • Webber Academy $100k from RVC in 2022

    • Cochrane Turf Field at Cochrane High School $600k from RVC in 2022
       

  • New County facilities such as Springbank and Langdon will require massive community fundraising efforts to get off the ground, likely killing the projects before they start.  Does the City of Calgary require residents surrounding a YMCA to come up with some of the capital costs? This is laughable.  Rather, community contributions should be used to enhance a facility, with the County responsible for the “bones” and the community coming to the table with “nice to haves” such as scoreclocks, portable stages, bleacher seating, etc. 


KEY CHANGE #2: Addition of Eligible expenses to include staff / salaries

OUR OPINION: This is a positive change for the following reasons:

  • Most volunteer run organizations in Springbank use an overlapping volunteer base (same people all the time between the schools and community groups). 
     

  • Allowing organizations to have staff funded by RVC will allow Springbank groups to work together to propose staff for programs and operations in Springbank.
     

  • We would be interested in proposing a FT shared staff person to work with non-profit organizations in Springbank (Heritage Club, Ladies Time Out, SCA, etc) to enhance programming and facility usage in Springbank.

 

WHAT DO WE WANT FROM RVC ON THIS ITEM?

We want RVC to offer an engagement opportunity to two to the 90 or so groups that will be impacted by the new policy BEFORE it goes to Council. 

We want residents to know that Policies beginning with a “C” meaning “Council” do not need public engagement. Examples of these policies include circulation and notification of planning / development items, recreation funding, and the SR1 policy.​  We believe that policies impacting the community should be circulated for comment before going to Council for a vote. 
 

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