Feature Story                                                                                        Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The Master Plan

A glimpse at the 10-year strategic draft report for the City's parks and facilities

Staff/Voice photos


Brian Johnston delivers the Strategic Plan draft report to staff and stakeholders at City Hall last Thursday. Below, Gordon Pederson; Director of Parks, Recreation & Culture, introduces Johnston.


t's been years in the planning, has involved huge amounts of feedback from the public, and gives Chilliwack's Parks and Recreation Department its mandate by outlining the City's leisure activity goals over the next 10 years.


Brian Johnston from Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants (PERC), presented a  141-page draft of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Strategic Master Plan to city staff, local stakeholders and facility users last Thursday evening at city hall.


"We really are at draft report stage," explained Johnston. "In a project like this, all of the energy up to this point goes into trying to compare the best possible draft, and then our energy shifts and the new focus now is trying to make the plan better before we finalize it."


Johnston said the plan parallels the City's Official Community Plan and highlighted characteristics of the draft and the various research his company did on how facilities are used in Chilliwack, and by whom.

For example, the Landing Sports Centre will eventually be resurfaced to allow the groups like roller derby and roller hockey to continue to use it, and so that other sports like an indoor soccer league can be developed.

Gord Pederson, Director of Recreation & Culture, said the plan helps them identify what they'll need to provide as the community grows moving into the future and then work that into the city's financial plan before taking it to council for final adoption.

"The report is crucial and gives us credibility as an organization to come before council and say this is what we're going to be looking at, this is what our community really needs," said Pederson. "We have been fortunate that council is very supportive of half the plan and we certainly hope it will be the same thing with this."

Pederson worked closely with Johnston assimilating the data they got from staff and council and the public throughout the writing of the draft report.

A survey was conducted which in summary indicated facilities see a high level of activity and the overall satisfaction with existing services is good, however some areas like trails and parks, bikeways, greenways cultural services will need to be expanded on.

Johnston described some of the key recommendations made in the report, such as; more ice for minor hockey, a new and better organized museum, replacement of Evergreen Hall, phasing out the Rotary Pool, replacing the curling rink, constructing a new public access indoor tennis facility, a slo-pitch baseball diamond and Sports Complex/Park on the South Side.

The draft also calls for more public green space and walking paths to accommodate new residential subdivisions that will be developed over the next two decades.

There's also room in the plan for a Public Art Policy, which is an initiative that will look ways to increase art exposure and appreciation and beautify the community by doing things like working art into building designs. It's unclear if that includes a graffiti wall.

Johnston invites people to take a quick survey of three questions regarding things the plan has missed, things the plan can remove and any other suggestions or comments.

A full copy of the draft can be found on the City's website here.


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