This week, Express reporter Mark Weber asked Councillor Larry Pimm questions regarding his thoughts on City council's recent adoption of the River Valley Tributaries Park Concept Plan. Described as a planning tool, the plan's purpose is to identify lands best suited for potential trails and parks within the City of Red Deer's 'growth area' over the next several years. Marking a significant collaboration between the City of Red Deer and Red Deer County, the plan includes 21 recommendations including aggressively pursuing provincial and federal funding, identifying parcels for land purchase and the beginning of work with landowners.
The plan also urges maximizing the use of Environmental Reserve to acquire lands adjacent to rivers, tributaries, lakes, sloughs, escarpments and other environmentally sensitive lands.
Ultimately, the goal is to establish a linear park system focused on the Red Deer River, Blindman River, Piper Creek and Waskasoo Creek.
"First of all, it's a wonderful thing," he said of the River Valley Tributaries Park Concept Plan. "I think that people living in Red Deer know that Waskasoo Park has added something to their lives. In terms of the River Valley Tributaries Park Concept Plan, it's important to have because you need to have a plan in place before you start asking for money from (other levels of government) for further development."
He added that sometimes, monies are also made available to a municipality for similar types of expansion projects, and there has to be direction on where it's going to be spent. Otherwise it can be used incorrectly or conflicts over how it should be utilized can surface.
"You really need to know what to do with this funding if it should fall into your lap."
"I can't really answer that, but I can say how important it is that Red Deer County and the City of Red Deer are singing from the same songsheet in terms of this plan."
He added that because the development encompasses so much territory beyond Red Deer, it was critical the two municipalities worked closely together in the plan's development and continue to partner closely as the plan takes shape over the coming years.
Pimm said rapid growth of the City and surrounding area simply demands that such plans like this look far into the future.
"As long as I've lived in Red Deer, we've doubled in population about every 25 years," he said. "So plans like this simply have to be long-term."