Recreation & Parks Master Plan


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The Recreation & Governance Committee has approved the 2021 Recreation and Parks Master Plan, guiding recreation development throughout Rocky View.

In 2019, Rocky View County Council approved the development of the Recreation Master Plan. The County recognizes the value of public recreation and that it should be available to all its citizens. To better address the recreational needs in the County as a whole, it was determined that long-term strategic planning is needed.

This plan will provide a definition of a path forward for the delivery of recreation opportunities for residents, prioritization of community needs, allocation of funds, partnership opportunities, and a planning system for the region.

A group of five consulting firms, led by HarGroup Management Consultants, was engaged to develop the Master Plan on behalf of the County.

The work on the Recreation Master Plan began in March 2020, with the consulting team collecting and reviewing information and data to inform the plan. Council members and internal stakeholders were interviewed, County policies and plans were considered, lifecycle requirements for existing facilities had been studied, grant processes had been analyzed, the results of the recreation needs assessment study have been incorporated, and many other activities and exercises were undertaken.

As a result, a plan has been developed to strategically address the recreation needs of our residents for the next 20 years.

The County provided various engagement opportunities for residents and stakeholders to review the proposed strategy and provided input and feedback through focus groups and online presentations.

Due to restrictions announced by the Alberta Government, the engagement process was extended until the end of the 2020 year. The input received from stakeholders was incorporated into the final document.

Project Timeline

The project is composed of the following phases:

  • Phase 1: Completed
    February - July 2019
    Adoption of a new recreation Governance model, including the establishment of the Recreation Governance Committee (RGC) and associated terms of reference. Residents of the County were informed through various channels of the changes in the Recreation Governance Model.
  • Phase 2: Completed
    July 2019 - March 2020
    County-wide needs assessment. This study aimed, through the engagement of our residents, community groups and recreation service providers, to better understand, serve, and prioritize all our residents’ recreational needs, and to inform the Recreation and Parks Master Plan 2020 – 2040.
  • Phase 3: Completed
    March - December 2020
    Development of a comprehensive Recreation and Parks Master Plan. The plan will serve as a directive for Council and Administration by outlining the types of services, programs, and facilities to be provided, prioritized, and supported for the County as a whole. The Community had an opportunity to provide input on the draft master plan through focus groups and online engagement options before the Plan was finalized.


Comprised of farms, residential acreages, rural hamlets, as well as industrial and urban developments, Rocky View County is truly a unique municipality in the province of Alberta. The County also envelops a number of urban centres such as the cities of Airdrie and Chestermere, the towns of Cochrane, Irricana, and Crossfield.

Currently, the County does not provide direct recreational programs or facilities, and depends on non-profit community groups and municipal partners to provide recreational opportunities for residents.

In support of recreational services, the County provides funding opportunities to the above mentioned community groups and recreational facilities, as well as adjacent municipalities through shared agreements.

The County is taking a strategic and active role in community recreation development to mitigate current and future recreation challenges. Rocky View County Council approved significant changes to the County’s recreation model at the July 23, 2019 Council Meeting to better support, plan and manage the diverse and growing needs for recreation, parks, and community support for our residents.

As part of the implementation plan of the newly approved governance model, the Recreation Governance Committee was established and a County-wide needs assessment was conducted during the third quarter of 2019.

This study was conducted to better understand, serve, and prioritize residents’ recreational needs. For more detail on the findings, conclusions and recommendations developed throughout the study, please review the document below:

Information used to develop recommendations in the Needs Assessment Study was gathered from County planning initiatives, demographic sources, engagement with residents, and consultation with partners, service providers, and staff.

  • A total of 1,996 households, 15% of households within Rocky View County, participated in a survey of residents.
  • Interviews were conducted with six urban municipal partners and five regional service provider partners.
  • An online survey was conducted with 44 recreation service providers located in Rocky View County, Airdrie, Beiseker, Chestermere, Cochrane, and Irricana.
  • Four focus groups were conducted with 26 residents from around the County.
  • Residents were provided opportunities for feedback and comment about the findings at four open house events.

Key Findings

  • Growing population and changing residential development – The County is experiencing growth and change. It is the largest municipal district in Alberta and has been experiencing population growth, which is expected to continue. This growth will likely be prompted by the development of hamlets that are expected to have populations of 5,000 to 10,000.
  • Existing approaches to recreation service provision are benefitting residents – Facilities that receive funding through the Community Recreation Funding Program are typically the highest used facilities among County residents within areas they serve.
  • Residents keen on services that support unstructured/spontaneous recreation activities – Unstructured activities that can be undertaken through spontaneous participation are more common and growing than structured activities that involve programmed participation. This trend is influencing the interest in amenities that support these activities.
  • Aging infrastructure – Some recreation facilities are aging, which may impact future service provision.
  • Service gaps identified in southeast and southwest areas of the County – While there are service needs throughout the County, notable gaps exist in the southeast and southwest areas of the community.
  • Residents acknowledge that services should provide value for money – The research revealed that value for money, capacity to serve residents, and economic viability should be key influences in choices for service locations.

Based on the findings of this Need's Assessment, the following facility development priorities have been identified for the County:

Short-Term Priorities

  • Pathways/trails – The Active Transportation Plan presents short-term priorities for pathway connections and programs in certain urban communities.
  • Multi-use spaces facilities – in the southeast and southwest areas (to support various recreation activities and programs).
  • Possible partnership initiatives – with urban communities for regional recreation facilities (Airdrie and Chestermere).

Mid-Term Priorities

  • Pathway/Trails – The Active Transportation Plan presents longer-term projects and programs for consideration.
  • Ice rink – development in the southeast area of the County (to support ice hockey, ringette, learn to skate programs, etc.).

Long-Term Priorities

  • Plan for and develop indoor and outdoor recreation amenities in hamlets that are expected to grow beyond 5,000 population.

Previous Items

In order to ensure a seamless and well-managed transition to a new board structure, the following activities took place in relation to the new Recreation Governance model:

  • Develop a change in management and communications strategy to update current board members (Q3, 2019) - Completed
  • Rescind current Board Bylaws (Q3, 2019) - Completed
  • Develop and present new Terms of Reference and Bylaws (Q3, 2019) - Completed
  • Communicate the new recreation model to the public through various channels (Q3, 2019) - Completed
  • Plan a Board member recognition event (Q3, 2019) - Completed
  • Develop and present new Recreation Grant Policy - 317 (Q4, 2019) - Completed
  • Communicate and implement new granting process to community members (Q4, 2019) - Completed
  • County-wide Recreation Needs Assessment (Q1, 2020) - Completed
  • Recreation County-wide Master Plan (Q1, 2021) - Completed


Recreation, Parks and Community Support