|Herald photo by Ian Martens
Minor hockey players skate up the ice as they chase the puck during a recent game at the Labour Club Ice Centre. The community issues committee meeting will be looking at the city's recreation and culture master plan.
Citizens of Lethbridge enjoy many recreational and cultural amenities. Over the years, the city has added parks, pools, ice arenas and one-of-a-kind facilities like Fort Whoop-Up, the Japanese garden and the nature centre.
But some of the city's six arenas are past their prime - average age, 42 years. The three city-owned swimming pools are just as old, on average.
And as the city has grown, residents feel it's fallen behind on such basics as picnic areas and green spaces. They're also hoping for more gymnasium, fitness and wellness facilities - and a leisure-style swimming pool.
Those are some of the findings in the city's just-completed master plan for recreation and culture. It's due for presentation to city council today.
Ashley Matthews, the city's recreation and culture manager, is scheduled to introduce the plan during a meeting of council's community issues committee. No debate is planned today, but council members are expected to consider its implications when Lethbridge's next capital improvement plan is created later in the spring.
Any debate on receiving the master plan "as information" would come during a regular council meeting on Feb. 19.
A previous master plan was completed in 2007, Matthews points out in his submission to council. It outlined priorities for capital improvement plans running up to 2017.
"The scope of this plan was more comprehensive than the previous plan, and included both recreation and culture infrastructure and service delivery," he says.
Consultants were hired, he reports, to handle data collection and public engagement and needs assessment, as well as analysis and evaluation. Then the experts would offer recommendations for the next 10 years.
Their short-term recommendations include a new leisure centre and pool, renovations to the Henderson outdoor pool, a new "outdoor festival space" and adding new "fitness spaces" to existing recreational facilities.
Mid-term initiatives they recommend include renovations to the Yates Centre and the Bill Kergan Centre, a new performing arts centre, additional skating ice, and either "reinvestment" or replacement of the old Labour Club and Civic Centre ice arenas.
Council is expected to weigh those recommendations - along with capital funding requests from other civic departments - when it starts debating the city's capital improvement priorities this spring.