Town moves to create advisory body for recreation

“We are hoping it will be an ongoing committee.” Wes Amendt

With almost all of the responses to Town of Ponoka’s survey on the recreation needs and wants of the community now collected, the town management is preparing to move ahead with steps to identify some basic policy guidelines and set some goals for the improvement of recreation services.

Wes Amendt, Director of Community Services, has recently circulated a message among the participants of last November’s open forum dubbed “Conversation on Recreation”, which was convened to discuss the challenges faced by the town, In his message, Amendt called for interested individuals to come forward to become members of a “Ponoka Recreation Committee”, planned to play an advisory role for the council and town management.

“We are hoping it will be an ongoing committee,” said Amendt in response to a question on the mandate of the new formation.

“It is an advisory committee, we don’t have any bylaw or anything to set up this committee.”

As for the function of the committee, Amendt said they would like to have the new group first review the previous needs assessments and studies done for the purpose and help the council and the town administration as they move ahead in preparing a strategic plan for the enhancement of the recreation services.

As councillors responsible for recreation, councillors Carla Prediger and Tim Falkiner will have a scheduled meeting with Amendt on  April 2 and the hope is that volunteers will come forward before then.

The composition of the committee will preferably include a county councillor and a representative of the high school age youth group as well as one member to speak on behalf of the senior residents of Ponoka. Ultimately, the committee may be comprising six to eight members, with the meetings likely to accommodate a wider participation depending on the specific subject being discussed.

The terms of reference drawn up for the committee says the term “recreation” will be interpreted in a broad sense that encompasses sport, arts and culture, general leisure programs, festivals and community events, as well as recreation infrastructure.

Amendt says he is now in the process of drafting an executive summary of the statistical data gathered through the survey on recreation and he expects to submit the document to the council, which, in turn, is likely to share it with the new committee for a review in order to establish a direction for the next step and to prepare strategic plans for the way forward.