Community Perspectives on Recreation

Clearly, many recreation opportunities are available for residents and visitors. But are these opportunities accessible by all, regardless of age, ability or income level? Which existing facilities need upgrades? Are additional facilities needed? These are some of the questions asked and answered by individuals who shared their thoughts regarding recreation in the service area. Community members identified the following, most pressing concerns.

Create a Community Park
Hinton would benefit from a park designed as a hub for outdoor community activities.

Address Income Barriers
Children and youth from low-income families have limited access to recreation both summer and winter, particularly when equipment investments are required. Keeping youth active, involved and engaged, is key to addressing issues such as school drop-out rates, obesity, chronic disease, drug use, vandalism and other criminal activity.

Improve Indoor Recreational Opportunities
Our community has identified a need to evolve our current recreational facility to a full indoor multi-purpose facility. This facility would support indoor soccer, tennis, track and field.

Improve Riverside Access
Public access to the Athabasca River is limited in town due to the location of the pulp and saw mills operated by West Fraser Mills Ltd.

Link & Expand Trails
Not all neighbourhoods are well connected to other parts of town. Residents in some hilltop districts, for example, have no direct pedestrian/cyclist route to the lower districts without crossing Highway 16, a four-lane divided highway. The 2011 Trails Master Plan aims to expand the trail system to connect more neighbourhoods with more amenities. The trails will enhance both transportation and recreational options for residents and visitors.

Protect Threatened Landscapes
Some trail users are damaging natural areas, damaging trail elements, littering and contaminating surface water bodies. Residents recommended more onsite enforcement, coupled with education programs to promote a culture of stewardship among all users.

Ensure Shared Use of Trails
Conflicts arise between ATV users, pedestrians and bikers over best use of the trails and surrounding landscape.
“Over the years, the town has developed a trail network, utilizing environmental reserves, parks, utility right-of-ways and lots, designated roads and sidewalks. The intent is that over time, all centres of activities and open spaces are linked by the community trail system.” - Town of Hinton Community Development & Enhancement Plan Integrated Report, 2003