Thousands provide input into upcoming Recreation and Culture Strategy

May 15, 2019

Thousands provide input into upcoming Recreation and Culture Strategy

Nearly 5,000 people, representing over 34,000 voices, provided input into the direction of recreation and culture opportunities in Strathcona County over the next 12 years. The response overwhelmingly agreed that recreation and culture are important elements in people’s lives and the overall community.

Beginning in June 2018 and leading into April 2019, Strathcona County collected responses and ideas from citizens, visitors, community and stakeholder groups. In addition to the multiple in-person and online surveys, over 14 meetings took place with representatives from 30 organizations who provide recreation and/or culture opportunities in the region. The key areas of focus that emerged through the public engagement were further validated through two community conversations with over 100 community members in March and April.

Strathcona County also worked with its consultant to gather research on trends and best practices, as well incorporating the County’s community profile, plans and policies to help shape the overall strategy.

On May 14, 2019, the Recreation and Culture Strategy’s What We Heard report was presented to the Priorities Committee. The key areas of focus that emerged for the new Recreation and Culture Strategy include: addressing barriers to participation (fairness and inclusion); exploring roles (partnerships, capacity building and coordination); prioritizing needs (service provision and infrastructure); and sustainability (environmental and financial).

Best practices research supported the County’s efficiency in maintaining comparable levels of recreation and culture opportunities relating to other communities in the region.

The next step is to develop the Recreation and Culture Strategy for Council’s approval in June, 2019. This new strategy will serve as a high level “road map” that will extend its focus beyond facility development and enhancement with the vision of providing a more holistic view of recreation, parks and culture priorities in the community. This unique approach will consider all aspects of service delivery - including partnerships, accessibility, inclusion and capacity building – that will be achieved through, and with, the community.

Once the Recreation and Culture Strategy is approved, a detailed 12-year implementation plan will be developed with short, medium and long-term priorities, including public investment recommendations. The 12-year implementation plan is expected to be presented to Council for approval in fall, 2019.

The new Recreation and Culture Strategy will build off the County’s existing Open Space and Recreation Facility Strategy (OSRFS). Several enhancements to community recreation came out of the OSRFS, including but not limited to, the construction of Emerald Hills Leisure Centre and Sports Pavilion with artificial turf, the revitalization of Ardrossan Recreation Complex and Glen Allan Recreation Complex, Josephburg Trail, and the Re/Max Spray Park and Playground.

For more information, including a copy of the What We Heard report, visit or call 780-464-8480.


Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of hydrocarbon processing in Western Canada. Strathcona County is a leader in environmental conservation, and 55 per cent of its land is within the UNESCO Beaver Hills Biosphere. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595