Uncertainty on Council over Recreation Centre

·2 min read

In the Spring of 2019, Town Council decided to develop a Recreation Strategic Plan to identify strategic priorities.

As a result of that Plan, at its Planning Meeting of September 22, 2020, Council directed its Administrative Officers to allocate $1 million of capital spending in the 2021 CY budget to the construction of a community Recreation Facility.

Since that time, the Facility, and its financing, have occupied a prominent line item on Council’s Agendas; however, as of this reporting, it would seem that progress toward the end objective is halting and confused at best. It would also seem that by the tone of their comments and their body language Councillors are feeling frustrated and a lack of collegiality is creeping into the proceedings. It is apparent that factions have developed.

Part of the frustration can be attributed to the fact the pace of decision-making is proceeding so slowly and part of that, it would seem, can be attributed to the fact there has been no one individual who has been charged with complete oversight of the project. Council can be blamed for not providing direction in that regard.

The result is well-intentioned individuals have been providing volunteer advice and consultation independent of Town officials; in fact, it could be said that they are working at odds with one another. Put another way, the old adage that “there are too many hands in the soup” may apply.

Volunteers have focussed on using local contractors providing less-than-market costs. Administration has been concerned, among other things, with liability, insurance etc. and have been uncertain about building design.

The result of this organizational confusion is that there is still much uncertainty concerning such fundamental issues as costs, conceptual drawings, site layout, building code compliance, occupancy and partner participation. It is anticipated that the County of Cardston and the Westwind School Division will make significant contributions to the project but both organizations are loathe to declare their respective commitments until the Town has indicated its final decision. Similarly, delays imperil public fundraising efforts which are best conducted near year end to take advantage of tax credits.

The Town has enlisted the services of a professional engineer who will address some of the fundamentals listed above. It is hoped that this will serve to expedite some of the decision making which is necessary for further progress. In the meantime, Council will have to provide its direction on the building’s features and uses which heretofore seem to have been driven by interested third parties.

Before committing to construction, Council has pledged to conduct a survey to gauge the degree of public support for the Project and its long term implications.

To conduct such a survey without all necessary details would be ill-advised but Council has begun to formulate the questions which it would contain.

William Hill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star