A regional study that is currently underway in the Municipality of the Crowsnest Pass is exploring the possibility of utilizing the recreational facilities in nearby areas, particularly our neighbours to the east.
The study is known as the Regional Partnership Collaboration.
“The idea of this feasibility study is to ask how can we work more collectively together and utilize our resources more effectively,” said Director of Protective and Community Services, Albert Headrick.
“Are we going to be looking at a different facility in one community that will incorporate a whole bunch of groups, well, you never know,” Headrick said.
“There are dollars out there from the government, so why would we not look into it?”
“The facilities are in the communities to address the needs and circumstances of each community,” Headrick said.
“Is there a possibility of having some joint benchers? That is what the study is hoping to answer.”
He stressed that there is no concrete consolidation between the municipalities at this point in time, just an analysis.
Chief Administrative Officer Myron Thompson reports that this is a project that the municipality has been reporting on over the last couple of months.
“It’s a regional partnership cooperation initiative,” Thompson said.
And according to Thompson, it’s not just recreational facilities that are being investigated.
“We are looking at places where there can be some shared municipal services or cooperation,” he said, noting Cowley and Pincher Creek as two of those areas.
Local municipalities struck a committee where council representatives from numerous different areas can sit on and discuss the possibility of merging facilities.
“We looked at what areas can there be some coordination,” said Thompson
He went on to say that there are five different areas: solid waste, recreation facilities, animal control, protective services and transportation.
The initiative is funded entirely through provincial funding.
The municipality received a total $106 000 for this initiative, through a grant called the Municipal Affairs Regional Partnership Cooperation Grant.
“We got a consultant to help us with reviewing what everybody does and how everyone can work together to become more sustainable and provide better service levels,” he said.
“An example would be our ski hill. We’ve always assumed that it is a regional facility. It’s not just here for the benefit of our residents but instead, it is there for the benefit this entire area,” Thompson said.
He went on to say that many communities in and around the area are struggling with increased costs and decreased utilizations. “[The study] is not meant to close down facilities,” he said. “It’s meant to make areas, including our own, more sustainable.”
Although the study is currently underway, no concrete decisions regarding recreational facilities or any of the other four areas being analyzed have been made.