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Regional leisure centre feasibility study underway in St. Paul area

Municipal partners in the St. Paul region are working together on a feasibility study that will look at the possibility of creating a regional multipurpose leisure facility and are now seeking public input.
Janice Huser photo

ST. PAUL - In the not-so-distant communities of Bonnyville, Cold Lake and Lac La Biche, residents young and old gather at multipurpose leisure centres, playing and watching sports, taking in events, and gathering at facilities such as the C2, Bold Center and Energy Centre. 

St. Paul area municipalities are now in the process of gathering feedback from the public as the group of municipal partners moves forward with a Regional Multipurpose Leisure Centre Feasibility Study. Project partners include the County of St. Paul, Town of St. Paul, Town of Elk Point, and the Summer Village of Horseshoe Bay.

A resident survey kicked off on Nov. 9 and will be open until Dec. 7, while a community group survey is also open for the same time period.

An In-person Community Input Open House is scheduled to take place on Nov. 23 at the St. Paul Recreation Centre from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

"Digital community input discussions" are also scheduled to take place this month, according to information about the project. The first will take place on Nov. 29, and another will take place on Nov. 30, through video conference. Discussions will start with a presentation by the consultant team to introduce the project, then facilitated discussions to gather input from participants will take place.

Participants must register to attend an input discussion and it is recommended registration be done at least one day in advance to receive the required information.

Back in 2018-19, the group of municipal partners received an Alberta Community Partnership Grant from the Province to do a Recreation Master Plan, explains County of St. Paul CAO Sheila Kitz.

"The community engagement at that time reflected a need for this type of facility. In the fall of 2021, the regional municipalities again applied for a grant... to fund a study to determine if it is feasible to construct this type of facility in the region," said Kitz. "We are also hoping to determine, if the study shows it is feasible, where such a facility should be located."

The County of St. Paul is the managing partner for the study.

"Recently, a Request for Proposal was published asking consultants to bid on the project and provide their proposed work plan. Expedition Management Consulting Ltd. was chosen as the consultant to carry out the study," says Kitz. 

The regional partners have now met with Expedition to determine the path forward, and the initial process involves "reaching out to the public and identified stakeholders to understand their needs, wants... around recreation and this type of facility." 

Kitz is hoping to get as much participation from the public as possible, in order to help consultants understand the region better.

Tim Mahdiuk, Director of Community Services for the County is the project manager for this project. Mahdiuk says at this point he is simply encouraging the public to get involved in the upcoming engagement opportunities. 

If anyone would like to provide input but is unable to do so through the upcoming activities, one-on-one interviews or additional small group video conferences will be made available. To speak to a member of the consultant team, contact Cassandra Gilmore at [email protected] by Dec. 7.

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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