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Town trots out draft parks and rec plan for public

The plan identifies major priorities for Smithers' outdoor spaces for the next 10 years
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A draft of the Smithers Parks and Recreation Master Plan has been completed and the public had a chance to make comments on it last week.

A draft of the Smithers Parks and Recreation Master Plan has been completed and the public had a chance to make comments on it last week.

The plan will guide how the town provides and invests in parks and recreation services such as facilities, programs, and events over the next 10 years.

It was developed to ensure that future decision-making is informed and best aligned with community needs, the town said.

The plan was informed by an extensive community engagement process that included over 600 touch points with the community through surveys, discussion sessions, virtual engagement and targeted community organization consultation. The engagement along with other research conducted by the project team helped form the key elements of the plan.

The plan identifies four key directions to focus on for the next 10 years.

The first one is to re-imagine Heritage Park and Central Park. The plan states that enhanced outdoor amenities and improved park experiences were identified as key needs through the research and engagement.

Both Heritage Park and Central Park are major outdoor hub spaces in Smithers that are currently under-used and a number of amenities at both parks are in need of renewal, replacement, or decommissioning.

Some ideas for Heritage Park include removing the underutilized ball diamond and consolidating ball use at Elks Fields. This will provide an opportunity to make higher-value use of the space within Heritage Park.

Also, there is a section set aside in Heritage Park for a children’s play and activity area, but it requires further engagement to identify the types of play amenities and opportunities that are most desired and viable. Possible options could include natural play, adventure play, and splash.

The other three priorities of the master plan include creating more structure and purpose around park experiences and uses; prioritizing trail investment to create better connectivity and all-season opportunities and working with partners to meet community needs for large-span multi-use space.

The open house for the public to see the plan on June 11 saw about 100 people attend. The online survey to comment on it is open until June 30.



Marisca Bakker

About the Author: Marisca Bakker

Marisca was born and raised in Ontario and moved to Smithers almost ten years ago on a one-year contract.
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