The period for feedback on The Nation’s Master Plan for its Parks and Recreation Department is now closed and the final report will be presented to municipal councillors in early August.

“We’re looking for direction for the recreation department – where we want to go, how we want to do it,” said Carol Ann Scott, Recreation Coordinator for the The Nation, adding that public input is key to the success of the plan. “What people think about recreation was part of the idea of the Master Plan – to try to get feedback.”

The final draft of the plan – which was conducted by the consultant group PRC Solutions at a cost of $65,415.70 (taxes included) – will be presented to council at its regular meeting on August 10. Feedback from the public will be incorporated into the 121-page document, which is being finalized and printed this month.

The aim of the plan was to examine the recreation infrastructure and existing services in order to provide a clear and concise strategic plan with achievable goals for the next 15 years. Scott said she believes the final draft accomplished the objective set out at the beginning of the project.

One of the main areas addressed in the Master Plan is anticipated population growth in the region. The report notes the municipality’s demographic profile is expected to change significantly, with increases expected in young adult, senior and youth populations within the community and a population increase of 25% forecast by 2026. Data from studies done by PRC Solutions showed there are gaps in the provision of programs for youth, adults and seniors. In addition, there may be some issues surrounding the cost of delivering facilities and programs.

“An important part of the Master Plan that you normally don’t think about is that they look at what population groups are growing, what we can offer them, and how we can meet their needs,” Scott observed.

Another area examined by the report was the type and number of recreation facilities in the Nation, as well as the cost of programs. While the report showed the region is well-served by it’s recreational facilities, there are suggestions regarding the modification of the cost recovery models for group and individual programs. The report shows services which provide the most community benefit – such as public parks and trail systems – should be planned with minimal cost recovery in mind, while competitive programs, facility rentals and concessions should earn at least some profit.

“The council and the recreation department have to sit down and decide what falls into those categories,” Scott noted, adding those type of decisions will require more study. “One of the first things (PRC Solutions) said was for us to collect data for at least a year before we even start looking at implementing some of (those ideas). It’s an evolving document – it’s not written in stone.”

The final draft of the Master Plan for the Nation’s Parks and Recreation Department can be viewed in its entirety on the municipality’s website Here