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Parks and rec board looks for ideas
Advisory board to town council wants suggestions for activities and improvements

Samantha Stokell
Northern News Services
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Residents of Inuvik with ideas on how to improve parks or recreation in the community have an outlet to express those thoughts they just need to use it.

The Inuvik Recreation and Parks Advisory Board has seven members dedicated to advising town council, co-ordinating, promoting and implementing recreation activities in Inuvik. The group meets once a month to discuss the current and future situation of recreation.

"The busier we keep people, the healthier they are," said Alana Mero, council representative on the board. "Recreation will keep them engaged and busy, learning, active, happier and healthier."

With the new super school nearing completion, the board will help decide what will happen once Sir Alexander Mackenzie School and Samuel Hearne Secondary School are torn down. The Town of Inuvik has decided those areas will become recreation centres.

"We will likely hold a public forum so the public can have a say," said. "We want to make sure they will use it and that there's room to grow over the years."

With big plans coming up for their area, the board is in the midst of trying to organize a strategic planning session to determine what could happen on the former school sites. Originally the area designated for education and recreation, which is why the schools, college and recreation complex are all located there.

"We want to plan for near to longer term, discuss the needs," said Len MacDonald, chair of the board. "We recognize we're an advisory to the council. We're hoping to get together as a group so that we can come prepared and get more out of it."

The advisory board is one of the oldest in the community, established right when the community itself started. The role has always been to address the recreation concerns of Inuvik and bring it to council. This has resulted in the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex, the pool and the fitness centre. Mero said it's thanks to current director and co-ordinators, Tony Devlin and Rose Constantineau, that recreation has expanded beyond its original definition.

"They've expanded what recreation means. It used to be just sports," Mero said. "Now it's things like yoga, swimming and art class. Those all fall under recreation. They're phenomenal."

Recently the board has worked on ensuring every neighbourhood has a playground. Now that that's done, it will upgrade the old playgrounds with new equipment, to be installed by summer 2012.

"We sat down with kids and a catalogue of equipment to see what they wanted," Mero said. "The first thing they said was benches for the moms to sit down on and more baby swings. Then they asked for the choo-choo train."

In the short term, the board will finish updating the parks and work on making the fitness centre run better. If anyone has suggestions for improved recreation and parks they can approach any member of the board attend the next meeting. It will be held on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex.

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