Draft recreation plan presented to Squamish Council 

Major changes to aging Brennan Park recommended by consultants

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Recreation Review

The anticipated recreation master plan was presented to the members of Squamish Council in draft form this week.

The long-awaited Squamish Parks and Recreation Master Plan was delivered this week.

At the end of a presentation of the draft document on Tuesday, Feb. 19 by consultants from Lees and Associates Mayor Rob Kirkham called the plan a recipe for success. The document was presented to the members of Squamish Council at an afternoon Committee of the Whole meeting.

The report stresses Squamish's outdoor recreation assets and identifies Brennan Park, the Brennan Park Recreation Centre (BPRC), the Seniors' Centre and the Youth Centre as the hubs for recreation in the community. It calls for an overall evaluation of the BPRC building and the creation of a plan for phased expansion and enhancement of the 36-year-old building. Work is currently underway to create a fitness facility in the building.

Also included in the report is a call for a major change to the ice sheet.

"Among the new programming spaces, a new gymnasium is required, given the under sized, low height and poor floor in the existing gym," Lees and Associates wrote in the executive summary of the plan. "As well, planning should begin as a high priority for the replacement of the existing ice sheet, including a 1,500 person spectator area. A new ice arena would provide an excellent opportunity to repurpose the existing arena to provide flexible dry-floor recreation space desired by a variety of organizations."

During the presentation of the draft plan Councillor Susan Chapelle called the existing ice arena abysmal. She further criticized the facility by describing the change rooms as an embarrassment.

Councillor Bryan Raiser suggested that corporate sponsorship would be key to paying for a second arena.

"We're not getting a second sheet of ice without that," said Raiser.

Another recommendation from the plan includes the creation of a joint use agreement with School District 48 to upgrade school fields. The plan's creators also suggested the creation of more dog parks and the creation of a put-in facility for kayakers, canoeists and motorboat owners in the area of the Mamquam Blind Channel.

Following the afternoon presentation of the plan, two people addressed council during the delegation portion of the regular meeting in the evening. Doug Morrison and Herbert Vesely both expressed concern over the plan to build a fitness facility at Brennan Park.

"I don't think we should be duplicating private services at taxpayer costs," Morrison said. He suggested holding a referendum to determine the level of support for a Brennan Park fitness facility.

Recreation director Tim Hoskin said some of the recommendations from the plan would be considered in the budget process this year.


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