Town administration wants to hire an external consultant to provide an unbiased review of the Jim Uffelmann Memorial Park, including environmental impacts and appropriate future uses.
Lisa Almond, the town's director of leadership and culture, told town council that administration intends to seek consideration for the capital project during the 2022 budget process.
The Jim Uffelmann Memorial Park is adjacent to the Bow River and extends from River Ave. to northeast of the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre. It's approximately 10 hectares (24.7 acres) in size.
Its multi-purpose asphalt trail attracts a diverse group of users, and there are strong and varied opinions within the community on its use. In January, a proposal of Bike Cochrane to separate the off-leash dog area from the pathway became a contentious issue.
Administration concluded obtaining an unbias report on the park is the best course of action. Input from stakeholders and the community will be taken into consideration.
Equally concerning is the significant ongoing erosion occurring along the banks of the Bow River through the park.
Town councillors were receptive to hiring an outside consulting firm.
"We obviously don't know what the financial cost is going to be, but I think as we move along, we definitely need to go this route," said Councillor Marni Fedeyko. "That way we take out the passionate people on either side of this conversation, and we do our own research to move forward with the best plan for the residents."
Current estimated cost of the project is $75,000.