WHEREAS it has been long accepted that exercise and physical activity creates a healthier society and reduces health care costs;AND WHEREAS research has shown that all sectors of society are requesting access to recreation facilities regardless of economic status;AND WHEREAS the rising capital and operating costs of recreation facilities are issues for urban and rural municipalities alike as these facilities age;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) approach the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) to form a task force to review the challenges faced by municipalities in the construction, operation and maintenance of these important recreation facilities and to prepare a report outlining strategies for all municipalities to address this serious situation.
It is an accepted fact that exercise and physical activity contributes towards a healthier society thus positively impacting the ever-rising costs of health care. Recreation facilities and programs, provided by municipalities across the province, offer the citizens of Alberta with opportunities to engage themselves in physical activity.Many associations have committed themselves to encourage Albertans to take up physical activity as a way to promote health and wellness. For example, the vision of the ARPA is ‘A province, and communities within, that embrace and proactively use recreation and parks as essential means for enhancing individual well-being and community vitality, economic sustainability and natural resource protection and conservation.’ It is in this shared vision that municipalities remain committed to provide recreational opportunities.The challenge for Alberta municipalities is to continue to provide recreation opportunities for their citizens regardless of economic status (ability to pay). Furthermore, the operating costs of existing facilities combined with the upgrades to deteriorating facilities are a financial burden that many Alberta municipalities are finding difficult to fund.Urban and rural municipalities have embraced the provision of recreational programs, in one form or another, and as such, the challenges described above impact both. While urban and rural municipalities continue to react to the financial challenges through innovative strategies in the provision of recreation, other strategic options need to be explored to address the fiscal challenge of providing Albertans with recreational opportunities.
The AAMDC has formally invited the AUMA to participate in a joint Task Force on Recreation Facilities. The Task Force has yet to be formalized; however, many of the concerns regarding the construction, maintenance and operation of recreation facilities have been addressed in the Cost Sharing Committee final report, Cost Sharing for Success.