Cypress County council heard the results from Sage Analytics’ public consultations report from the open houses held in the summer on the proposed Dunmore recreation facilities at their Sept. 17 meeting.
The proposed projects are the Dunmore hockey arena/ training centre which Prairie Rose School Division wants the county to contribute over $5 million towards the $10 million building and the Dunmore Equestrian Centre indoor riding arena who have requested $2 million from the municipality for their capital budget.
There were 537 public surveys filled out, 95 people attended the open houses, 34 stakeholders were contacted to participate, 16 of which filled out the survey and the county did 30 stakeholder interviews.
The goal of the consultation was to give council a sense of direction as to if they are going to fund both, one or none of the facilities.
“Sage didn’t excellent job on the report,” said Dan Hamilton, county reeve.
“I’m glad so many people came out and got involved and gave us some insight on what needs to be done. There’s a long way to go. There’s a lot of analyzing to do in this report.
“There (are) a lot of questions in there that need to be answered. We’re going to have to send it back to staff to look at. We don’t know where it’s going from here. It’s got to come into council one more time.”
The top 3 areas to respond to the survey were Dunmore who had the most respondents to the survey with 38 per cent , while Medicine Hat had 16 per cent of the input and Seven Persons residents had 11 per cent.
For the hockey arena/training facility, the response showed that the building would be an asset to Dunmore and the county, the facility would create new recreational opportunities and would be a reasonable use for county resources.
Concerns include having a negative impact on the Irvine arena, intersection safety, limited parking and the economic benefit may lean towards Medicine Hat more than the county and Dunmore.
As for the equestrian centre, their indoor riding could be of use year-round, fit in with the rural ranching community and there is potential to generate revenues for the community and the county.
However, the project would benefit a small number of people , people had their concerns with access and road/intersection safety and will compete against other private equestrian centres.
The first question was if either facility would benefit the Cypress County area.
For the hockey arena/ training facility, 47 per cent agreed, 45 per cent disagreed and eight per cent neither agreed or disagreed.
The equestrian centre indoor arena saw 74 per cent benefit for the region, 19 per cent disagreed and seven per cent neither agreed or disagreed.
The second question that was asked was a resident in support of using county funds to partially assist with constructing and operating the proposed facilities.
Twenty-eight per cent of surveyors were in support of the idea for the arena/training facility, 58 per cent disagree and four per cent were undecided.
Six-four per cent agreed for the equestrian centre, 28 per cent disagreed and eight per cent were undecided.
The last question was how much usage either facility would get.
Forty-three per cent of the survey agreed they would use the indoor riding arena, 43 per cent would not use it and 14 per cent were neither for against using the facility.
For the ice arena/Training facility, 28 per cent would use it, while 59 per cent would not and 13 per cent were would neither agree or disagree.
The Dunmore Equestrian Centre was impressed with the report.
“We’re very happy with the results of all the surveys,” Blair Reid, equestrian society president.
“I think it was very positive for our facility and the community’s facility. Moving forward, we’re just waiting (on) getting a meeting with council to get our next steps. Hopefully we can have a beautiful indoor facility for the community in the near future.”
The equestrian society will be back at the county’s Oct. 1 council meeting to request a letter of support for CFEP (Community Facility Enhancment Program) grant.