New Springbrook community centre a future possibility
The final results of the feasibility study for a community centre in Springbrook were presented to Red Deer County council recently, with recommendations suggesting that “it is not prudent to proceed at this time.”
For several years, the idea of a new community centre has been discussed among residents of Springbrook and between the Springbrook Community Association and Red Deer County staff.
“I think it won’t be happening soon, but someday,” said Mayor Jim Wood, during the council meeting.
Last April, Red Deer County commissioned RC Strategies to research and explore the overall feasibility of building and operating a new community centre in the hamlet of Springbrook.
The feasibility study was conducted across five phases, including: information gathering, consultation, program statement development, stakeholder and public review.
In recent months, a questionnaire was sent to 433 households, with Springbrook residents comprising 72 per cent of respondents. Of the 94 people who returned a household survey, 76 per cent believed there should be a new community centre facility.
The capital costs to build a new facility were estimated in the presentation as totalling more than $3.4 million, including the building, development consulting fees, parking, furnishings and equipment.
“I certainly agree that community halls are important,” said Div. 4 Coun. David Hoar. “However, when we look at Springbrook, we have to realize we are extremely close to Penhold and Red Deer.”
He added that there are more than adequate facilities in those areas.
“It would be very difficult in my mind to see a large community centre in Springbrook,” Hoar said. “I think there’s a great opportunity for a small community centre to be utilized by the 1,000 people who live here.”
Among the short-term recommendations in the final report was the view to maintain the status quo.
“While not ideal, the current community hall space is available in which to deliver programs,” wrote Rob Park, a partner with RC Strategies. “While the development of a new community centre in Springbrook is not imminent, it is expected that the circumstances that will lead to a new facility will emerge in time.
“As such, a decision to revisit the development of a new community facility should be made as various dynamics emerge.”
Those dynamics include: strengthening of the community association and the addition of dedicated, strong volunteers to the current volunteer base.
“When you look at the dynamics of today’s society, quite frankly, I don’t want to throw cold water on it, but I have my doubts on a major facility, certainly in a short-term horizon, at least,” Hoar said.
Currently, the Springbrook Community Association leases a building to serve as meeting space in the area.