City looking for public input on Smith subdivision activity and reception centre

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The city of Grande Prairie needs your input into its new activity and reception centre for the Smith subdivision.

Stephanie Cajolais, Manager- Sports Development, Wellness and Culture for the City of Grande Prairie, said the city wants to hear from many people as possible.

“We are really interested in what the community wants to see as activities in that type of space,” Cajolais said. “There are some sports and sports organizations with limited opportunities in existing structures and facilities within the community, ball hockey or floor hockey as an example.

“Those sports are kind of tough on walls so there are limited options for where they can play. We’re hoping this facility will be able to create an opportunity for those user groups interested (so they are) able to utilize the new facility for some of those sports, so we can offer them to the community.”

The city is also hoping to get some input on the community’s thoughts on the hours of operation and features needed to ensure it is inclusive and accessible.

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Cajolais said the city also targets various user groups to get their input, in addition to the online survey.

“I feel that between the two opportunities, we should have a good sense of what the community and user groups are interested in,” Cajolais said.

The facility will also serve as a reception centre in case of a large-scale disaster or emergency in  Grande Prairie or the  surrounding communities.

The centre will have a concrete floor to accommodate a wide variety of activities and still be able to fulfill its role as an emergency reception centre, which is one of its primary purposes.

“I know there is lots of demand for sports. For example, we have heard lots of interest from soccer,” Cajolais explained. “The intent is that type of surface (concrete) will best suit the reception centre component of the facility. Also, it is being designed intentionally to support some specific gaps in the community we have identified, for example, floor hockey. Just so people are aware, it won’t be a gymnasium or turf-type of surface.”

The facility planning began last year after the federal government gave the city $4-million via the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program-COVID-19 Resilience Stream. There is a requirement the City of Grande Prairie contribute 20 per cent of the cost, which equates to $800,000.

A contract for the facility’s construction was awarded to Atkinson Construction Ltd. in January.. Construction will begin this spring sometime.

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“There is not a definitive date (for construction to start),” Cajolais said. “Of course, it is very weather-dependent but we are hoping some of the preliminary work will begin in April, weather permitting, and then actual construction in May (or) June. For the grant, the project has to be substantially completed before the end of 2021. Our hope is the new facility will be operational in early 2022.”

Any resident wanting to provide input can do so via the online survey, which takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. The survey will be available online from Feb. 17 to March 3 at https://engage.cityofgp.com/receptioncentre.

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