Blackfalds council approves award of plan

Looking ahead into the next six or seven years, the Town of Blackfalds will be creating a master plan to guide

Looking ahead into the next six or seven years, the Town of Blackfalds will be creating a master plan to guide future development of parks and recreation facilities.

Town councillors approved the award of the Facility and Parks Needs Assessment Master Plan and Detailed Design of All-Star Park during their regular council meeting on March 10th.

“The purpose of this plan and design, both the process and the document, shall provide council and staff long-range planning guidelines for the next six to seven years, assigning priorities and laying out strategies to meet the needs, keeping in mind funding available for such services and facilities,” stated Director of Community Services Sean Barnes in his report to council.

The needs and wants of the community, along with willingness to fund projects, will be gauged through the upcoming needs assessment.

Things that are expected to be included in the needs assessment are the potential of twinning the arena, an indoor pool, dog park location, playground development, extending the trail system, campgrounds, future soccer fields, and the location of the skatepark. The future design of All-Star Park will also be included in the assessment process.

“There are a lot of opinions out in the community and a lot of needs,” said Mayor Melodie Stol.

Barnes told council that four companies had initially applied for the tender, but only two companies, RC Strategies and McElhanney, presented to the Recreation, Culture and Parks Board earlier this month. After an evaluation and selection process, the board selected RC Strategies to complete the assessment, due to their higher ranking.

Included in the 2015 budget, $200,000 was previously approved by council for the completion of the master plan and detailed design.

Council chose to award the project to RC Strategies for a cost of $187,877.

As part of the needs assessment process Barnes said the consulting company would gauge public interest and contact the various user groups and community groups in Blackfalds, to include their needs in the master plan.

“I really look forward to this,” said Councillor William Taylor. “Blackfalds is in a pinnacle place in time. We are stepping out into new areas and doing this assessment provides a great outlook for the future.”

Barnes said the timeline is to have the consultants starting work on the plan in May or June, collecting the input over a four-month period and completing the assessment in October.