By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
Through public engagement and consultation, the Town of Picture Butte and Stantec embarked on a Parks, Culture and Recreation project to ask residents how the town of Picture Butte should move forward in the future and what would the town look like in the years to come.
From this public engagement and consultation, Stantec created a Regional Master Plan. The plan has been presented to town council in installments since completed and Stantec will continue to keep council informed of the process.
Community Planners from Stantec Karen Iwaasa and Megan J. Jones visited town council Apr. 11 to discuss Phase 5 of the plan.
Town council and administration, according to the report submitted to council, has talked about the importance of parks as community and family gathering places and also noted affordable multi-use recreational facilities, both indoor and outdoor, should be included in any master plan.
The report stated culture provides diversity to preserve heritage and provide understanding and recreation attracts families and draws people into the community and keeps residents in the community.
During town administration and Lethbridge County’s lively discussion on the master plan, Jones said, the county asked questions and wanted the town to take into consideration a few items.
“What builds community? What makes Picture Butte sustainable and they’re talking more about the financial sustainability of recreation and parks, open spaces and culture? And to keep in mind operations and maintenance costs,” she noted, adding these questions and considerations were not new.
From the stakeholders, Jones added, they were asked about the importance of parks during the community engagement process.
“They brought up memorials. Actually, in all the time I’ve done this, I’ve never hear that brought up by one of the stakeholder groups,” she said, adding fitness and exercise are also very important, as it sustains the environment.
The importance of culture, according to stakeholder groups — provides growth, knowledge, education and self-worth and the arts. It is important recreation promotes integration and supports mental health.
Public trends, according to the report, include outdoor activities such as the walking trails and parks, walking and swimming, as being important for the town, as noted by attendees at the open houses.
This report, Jones said, is a snapshot and background behind the recommendations from attendees at the public open house engagement sessions.
According to the report, attendees suggested in the future the town should look at the possibilities of a new park, offer programs at existing facilities for all ages and build a user-pay indoor pool or use part of the existing facility.