Regional recreation society on the table

Forming a regional recreation society will be formally presented at a special meeting later this month.
The Falher and Area Recreational Development Society will host a meeting March 27 in the Falher Town Office at 7:30 p.m.
Society secretary Dan Dibbelt finalized the date for the meeting.
Member organizations are urged to attend the meeting, including Smoky River Minor Hockey Association, Falher Minor Ball Association, Falher Curling Club, Smoky River Gymnastics, Smoky River Manatees Swim Club, Smoky River Army Cadets, Smoky River Junior Forest Wardens, Falher Honey Festival Committee, Tourisme Smoky River Tourism Association, and French Canadian Association of Alberta.
“They will have to make the decision whether they go regional or stay as Falher and area,” said Dibbelt. “It’s going to be up to them.”
A meeting last month concluded that regionalizing recreational facilities and services in the Smoky River area is the best option for adequately and efficiently serving users and taxpayers.
“I feel if we want to work together with the other communities, the groups already involved have to change the bylaw,” said Jeannette Cinq-Mars, society chair.
If the society member organizations support regionalization, she said a subsequent meeting would provide other groups in the region to get on board.
“It’s an opening to let them serve on the society and to help set future direction,” said Cinq-Mars.
Solid leaders essential to recreation society
Dibbelt said solid leadership is a key to an effective society.
“You need two or three committed people who have “belief and faith in the society to keep it going,” said Dibbelt, who serves as the Falher and Area Economic Development and Tourism Officer.
During a meeting last month to discuss a regional recreation society, all 17 people agreed that a region with a population of around 5,600 in four towns can’t feasibly operate and fund arenas and curling rinks individually and a regional facility is more economic for users and taxpayers.
Recently, the society was approached by the minor hockey association to discuss plans for a new ice arena in Falher that is estimated at $1.2 million, said Dibbelt.
This led the society to start discussions about regionalizing recreational facilities, since four small neighboring towns would face a difficult challenge to own and operate separate facilities.
Dibbelt added that funding from all levels of government was dwindling and grants would likely be prioritized for larger regional projects rather than for facilities in small communities.

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