Aug. 17, 2023 Budget DeliberationsDave Lueneberg, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Crowsnest Pass council began the first step Aug. 17 of considering what projects they’d like to have included in next year’s budget.

While many might be considered as lofty goals, each one of the 31 proposals was looked at thoroughly with CAO Patrick Thomas providing background information and feedback, where needed.

Topping the list, in cost, at $8.5 million is a new multi-use facility that would include a gymnastics centre, climbing wall, indoor soccer pitch, and meeting rooms for community and sports groups.

So far, $3.8 million has been set aside in a reserve fund.

Also brought into the discussion: a new $5 million municipal office. The funding, if approved at a later meeting, would see $1 million put away in each of the next five years, starting in 2024.

But, it was some of the smaller concepts that drew the bulk of discussion during the meeting, which lasted over three hours. 

This included the Coleman washroom, with an estimated value of $160,000 – the structure to be built on a stretch of the community trail system used by walkers, joggers, skaters and cyclists. 

The exact location, however, has yet to be decided on. 

It’s being considered for 2024 funding.

While no cost was given, a potential trail or pathway between Bellevue and Frank might also be in the offing.

Another investment that’s much needed, but for different reasons, and at a considerably larger expense, is a street sweeper.

With only one unit to cover Blairmore, Coleman, Frank, Hillcrest and Bellevue, councillors believe it’s money well spent.

The existing sweeper will be kept strictly as an emergency backup.

Also on the list is $2 million in funding upgrades to Gazebo Park in Blairmore, which hosts a farmers market during the spring and summer months.

Any improvements would complement the downtown core, which has undergone a facelift of its own.

Council will divide the cost between its 2024 and 2025 budgets.

Not approved, but not necessarily off the table, are improvements to the new Eco Centre in Frank. At a cost of $75,000, the proposal would have seen a new concrete pad put down and fencing placed around the collection bins.

It’s something that might be looked at again, for 2025.

A planned $1-million investment for the Hillcrest ball diamonds has also been taken off the table for now.

It, too, might come back for discussion next year or the year after.

A second budgetary meeting is planned for Monday, Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. in the municipal council chambers.

By Dave Lueneberg, Shootin’ the Breeze, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 13, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Shootin' the Breeze   Pincher Creek, Alberta

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