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Council approves POST Master Plan

Masha Scheele

The Parks, Open Spaces & Trails (POST) Master Plan is the foundation for site-specific outline plans and supports the ongoing maintenance and new projects that enhance the POST experience in Hinton.

During the regular council meeting on May 7, council approved the POST Master Plan, replacing the 2.0 Parks Master Plan from 2003.

According to administration’s notes on the master plan, all outline plans and projects within the master plan will be drafted and follow a process that includes community engagement and council discussion and approval.

“This is another plan I know that certain councilors had concerns with certain areas of the plan but again overall if we can consider it in terms of understanding that council is still the gatekeeper of funds, and that if there is any particular part of the plan that causes concerns in terms of finance and capital investing, again budget is an effective tool to sort of look at and discuss those particular item issues,” stated Coun. Ryan Maguhn.

Previously, the POST Master Plan was presented and discussed in March 2019, after which changes were made and incorporated.

Coun. Dewly Nelson and Coun. Albert Ostashek both voted against approving the document, stating they could not support it unless further amendments were made to issues around future growth.

The POST master plan states that currently, POST provision within the municipality is 37.44 ha of parks and open space per 1,000 residents which is expected to increase to 52.89 ha per 1,000 residents by 2045 based on approved east and west area structure plans (ASPs).

“We’re looking at moving our open space per 1,000 residents from 37. ha to 53. ha and we’re already triple to any comparative size and I don’t think that’s a sustainable method of managing our open space and it scares me, the cost that will come with increasing our open spaces by 50 per cent. And we’re already not able to maintain the space that we have,” stated Nelson.

Ostashek added, “we’ve already got more per capita area devoted to parks and open spaces and trails in Hinton than all our municipal comparatives. I have real concerns too about our ability to maintain it and especially if that ratio is increased.”

The approved POST Master Plan incorporates input from the community, stakeholders and the direction from council to support the creation of a guide that provides Hinton the best service delivery

and future of POST, according to administration.

The document will ensure plans, projects and processes are consistent and in-line with other guiding documents; current POST facilities are managed efficiently and economically; POST assets deliver a high level of service; new POST assets are efficiently managed; opportunities for collaboration or grant funding for POST projects are successful due to planning; and long term planning can be realistically determined and create desirable outcomes for the future.

“I do feel there was a lot of progress that was made in this from the first time we saw this. I think this is a more palatable, obviously we live in a bureaucratic system that we’re never going to be perfect, I always try to get as close to reality,” stated Mayor Marcel Michaels.

“The challenges at budget time will be far less now than they were before.”

There is no direct financial impact to the current operational budget in working with the document.

Any future outline plans, projects, management processes and adjustments of budgets that require council’s approval will come before council for discussion and decision before they are implemented.