County of Stettler sets priority to fund area recreation projects

Wrestling with ways to provide funding for recreation in the Stettler region, county councillors had several suggestions as council adopted

Wrestling with ways to provide funding for recreation in the Stettler region, county councillors had several suggestions as council adopted a new strategic plan for the next few years.

“I guess the only thing missing in this plan is amalgamation,” Coun. Joe Gendre said with a smile during the monthly council meeting in July, when the strategic plan was adopted.

Rather than the county battling over how it allocates funding to recreational facilities in the region, another councillor suggests ratepayers have the choice by designating their taxes to specific services and programs.

“Put the onus on the taxpayers, where they want their money to go for recreational facilities,” said Coun. James Nibourg

“If we’re going to solve the problem, we have to think outside the box.”

Nibourg said that would encourage facility operators to promote their facilities more.

However, the reeve, wasn’t too optimistic about this approach.

“It’s a good idea, (but it) won’t work,” Reeve Wayne Nixon said with a chuckle.

Statistics for users are not very reliable, he added.

“Numbers on users are not always believable, it’s a hard thing to prove,” Nibourg said.

Under strategic planning, the county plans to complete a recreation funding review and develop a position paper by January.

“The whole matter of recreation needs to be defined and a position paper developed to defend the level of support mainly with the Town of Stettler,” states the report.

“The Town of Stettler feels strongly that the county needs to contribute significantly more for operating costs and capital costs in the Town of Stettler.”

Further, the report states that currently through its recreation board, the county significantly support the county and villages for operations and capital costs and the county also supports the Town of Stettler with annual recreation funding of $128,000 and one-off capital contributions to Stettler Recreation Centre, Stettler Sports Park and the spray park when requested.

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