INNISFAIL – The town is taking a serious look at jumping on board with a proposed 20-acre archery park.
At town council’s May 18 regular meeting, the idea of a full archery park, one with the potential to attract both recreational archers and bowhunters from across Central Alberta, was pitched to local elected members by David Blocksom, of the Innisfail Fish and Game Association (IFGA).
“It certainly looks encouraging in my mind. We are always looking for new ideas that’s for sure,” said Mayor Jim Romane.
Following Blocksom’s 20-minute delegation presentation, council unanimously approved a motion that directed administration to work with the IFGA to get more information into the plan and come back to council in the near future with a detailed proposal.
The presentation came after a few meetings between administration and IFGA officials that resulted with a proposal to convert a 20-acre parcel of town-owned land on the west side of the C & E Trail in north Innisfail. The site is earmarked for use as a cemetery in 20 to 25 years.
Meghan Jenkins, the town’s director of community services, said IFGA came back to the town with a site plan. She said the IFGA presentation was the next step, a preliminary one, to get council’s first-impression feedback.
Council was shown a concept that had areas for a multi-lane shooting range, 3-D target practice area to include 24 foam deer or elk targets, shooting platforms, a shelter, spaces for sea can storage, and two parking lots.
Jenkins said talks have not started yet for a “fee for lease” agreement for the site, which is currently being leased for agriculture on an annual basis.
She said if the IFGA plan is moved forward, suitable notice would have to be given on the current lease. Jenkins said a new lease for the archery park would not likely occur until 2022.
She told council that if the archery park was ultimately approved by council, it would only be an interim use for the 20-acre parcel of land as it’s earmarked as an area for the Innisfail Cemetery once the current Lakewood Drive space is filled, and that could be 20 to 25 years into the future.
Blocksom told council the IFGA is willing to be responsible for the entire cost and liability to transform the site into an archery park, which he estimated would be about $30,000.
He told council the club already has about $7,500 in grants, adding there was other “funding capabilities” that will take care of the rest. Council was told the club is confident it can have all funding in place with a full detailed plan ready by 2022.
Blocksom said his club, which now has about 75 members, said the site would be a “great draw” for the community and be able to attract archery enthusiasts from other Central Alberta communities. He added the facility would also be ideal for both recreational archers and bowhunters.
Council was further told the facility would have the potential to be a premier site to host both provincial and national competitions.
Blocksom added another issue that still has to be worked out would be parking for large once-a-year events that could attract up to 250 people.
He told council it might be possible to work out an interim transportation agreement with the Daines Ranch, located just a kilometre north of the facility site.
“I like the concept. I would certainly endorse administration going ahead and flushing out some of the details, which are probably going to be many that need to be flushed out,” said Coun. Don Harrison. “It would be good if we could start that process.”