Opinion

Why we need recreation facilities 0

Michael McMurter

In the last year, I have submitted a number of ideas and presentations to council on additional recreation facilities for our community. Starting today, I want to begin sharing those ideas with you in order to provoke a positive, focused discussion in our community about those facilities.

As a community stakeholder, I want them to meet our program and community needs. As a citizen, I believe recreation infrastructure is necessary in keeping our community sustainable. As a taxpayer, I want my money spent well.

Recreation facilities are vital to the ongoing sustainability and viability of this community. They should be viewed as an investment, not as an expenditure.

THE VALUE OF PLAY

Lifestyle has become very important to families and seniors in determining where they live and work. It gives people a good reason to want to live here, stay here or move here. It is important in attracting the creative class, such as doctors, engineers, entrepreneurs, etc.

Recreation opportunities build personal and community successes. Those successes contribute to developing successful youth, as well as being perceived as a successful community.

Often, we do not have the programs or facilities to develop our own athletes. New facilities would provide us with new opportunities to "own the podium" by developing the vast athletic potential in our community.

WELLNESS

Investing in recreation facilities is an investment in a healthy community. Developing a healthy lifestyle will reduce traditional healthcare costs. As taxpayers, we want to be investing in wellness so we can reduce the unsustainable cost of health care.

A recreation facility has the potential to reduce obesity and diabetes. Therapy pools would assist traditional health care. It would also contribute to reducing the fitness gap for kids that schools cannot provide.

It will bring us together and make us a better community.

Investing in recreation facilities is doing our part in making this a healthier community.

POSITIVE ECONOMIC OUTCOMES

If we ensure the program and community needs associated with lifestyle and wellness are met, there will be additional economic benefits.

People will want to go to the facilities. The surrounding area will enjoy positive economic benefits. It will result in property redevelopment and an increased tax base.

It will provide a real incentive for doctors, businesses and affluent retirees to move here and a good reason for our post-secondary students to stay here. This will drive the need for more businesses, services, housing, etc.

New facilities will allow us to train more athletes and host additional sports competitions, tournaments, meets, etc. Sport tourism will generate greater economic activity and create new jobs.

It will also address a number of requirements identified in the economic strategic plan.

It will help our economic, municipal and educational partners, because their successes are our successes.

If the scope of program needs is expanded to encompass our surrounding municipalities, we have the potential of becoming a regional economic and recreational leader.

Let's make it all happen!

Michael McMurter is a local resident with a longtime interest in the city's recreation landscape. He can be reached at mikemcmurter@gmail.com.


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