Groundwork continues to be laid for a new recreation master plan to replace a drastically outdated one from 2008.

Tara McFadden, chair of the town's parks and recreation committee, says it's a priority of both the public committee and town administration.

"There have been significant changes in our population and how we want to recreate," says McFadden. "I mean, sports like rugby have really taken off and I don't think I even knew about pickleball in 2008. Yeah, it's time to update that."

She says the plan will assist council in being deliberate and strategic in its choices as opposed to being reactive. She says it can't be a case of the tail wagging the dog.

"We need to look to find out what our community's priorities are and where the gaps are, then work together to find the answers. I want to make sure that when we do start funding and finding solutions, we're being deliberate about it, not just responsive."

The existing plan examines the different aspects of recreation and sets priorities, heavily influenced by public and stakeholder engagement.

"Whether it's baseball, soccer, rugby pickleball, every one of our groups is talking about the demand. They've got successful programs and all their programs have the same story. They're all about keeping people healthy and helping to grow the community, and it's all true."

But she says every tax dollar matters and the reality is there's only so much of it to go around.

"My expectation is that this isn't gonna be a plan that we create to sit on the shelves. This is gonna be one that we build into the town budget and we deliver upon the highest needs identified."

She says it had been identified earlier but work was delayed by the pandemic and the two-year elimination of the town's community services department. The pandemic has since passed, and the community services dept. r-established.

Cochranites value their recreation and clearly want a say. Since being created in 2018 after council supported a notice of motion by McFadden, there's been no shortage of applicants when vacancies become available.

Most recently, 16 people applied for four vacancies that became available in January.