Rocky View County and the Town of Cochrane are currently in the process of, 'exploring alternative models for Cochrane’s recreation facilities, working to ensure the service model continues to be responsive and adaptable to the growing needs of the community.'

According to the news release by the County, a joint owner of the SLS Centre (SLSC) and Cochrane Arena, with Cochrane, both parties have issued a joint Request for Proposals (RFP) to explore operating models for Cochrane recreation facilities.

"The SLSC and Cochrane Arena are jointly owned and subsidized by the Town of Cochrane and Rocky View County. These facilities represent significant community investments and are among the largest multi-use recreation facilities in Alberta, offering a wide range of activities and programs that cater to diverse community needs," Rocky View County stated.

In 2001, a group of community volunteers, in partnership with the Town of Cochrane and Rocky View County, built a new hockey arena in Cochrane which is now known as Totem 1. Over the next 15 years, the facility was expanded to include all current amenities. Throughout this time, the volunteer Board of Directors has provided governance and oversight to the SLS Centre and Cochrane Arena.

"As Cochrane continues to grow and change, reviewing how recreation services are delivered is critical to ensuring the model meets the needs of the community today and for years to come. The SLS Centre is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of active citizens and stakeholders in the community," the news release stated.

The RFP, which will be released by early June, invites interested parties to submit proposals for the stewardship of these facilities. Cochrane and Rocky View County provided the SLS Board of Directors and leadership team with advance notice of the RFP. There is a joint commitment from all parties that the RFP process will not impact the ongoing delivery of recreation services in Cochrane.

Reeve Kissel of Rocky View County said that the RFP represents a proactive step to ensure the recreational facilities continue to meet the needs of the community.

"Rocky View County is committed to finding collaborative solutions with our partners that will uphold and enhance the high-quality, accessible services our residents have grown to expect."

Cochrane Mayor Genung underlined that while they are grateful for the commitment of the Board for volunteering their time to oversee the operations of the SLS Centre and Cochrane Arena for over 20 years, Cochrane town council has heard from numerous user groups about the need for additional recreational spaces.

"... And the time has come to start planning for these facilities. The RFP will explore new operating models that can support the current and future needs of recreation centers in Cochrane. Through this process, we will enhance and expand Cochrane’s recreation capacity while minimizing impact to taxpayers."

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for the Town of Cochrane, Mike Derricott underlined that because of Cochrane's significant growth and the need for more recreational spaces soon, the town and the county are, 'evaluating the status quo' to ensure that the operating and governance model continue to best serve our communities’ needs.

Brad Nadeau, SLS Centre Board President also underlined the Board has always been focused on ensuring the community has access to recreation facilities and programming.

"As this exploratory process unfolds, we will work to ensure that the community can continue to build on this legacy that the Board has laid the foundation for."

The SLS Centre is one of the largest multi-use recreation facilities in Alberta. Facilities include three ice arenas, an aquatic centre, a curling centre, a climbing wall, indoor turf, a fitness centre, a gymnasium, an indoor track, a gymnastics centre, a high-performance sports training facility, physiotherapy, food and beverage outlets, a preschool, and many other physical and social well-being programs. The SLS Centre also operates the Cochrane Arena, a single-ice arena facility located near the tri-schools site in Cochrane.

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