Winagami wading pool a high priority for Loewen

Todd Loewen

Richard Froese
South Peace News

A children’s wading pool at Winagami Lake Provincial Park east of McLennan could be revived, now that the MLA for the area is the new provincial minister of forestry, parks and tourism.
Central Peace – Notley MLA Todd Loewen says the pool is a local priority after he received his ministerial mandate letter from Premier Danielle Smith on Nov. 9.
“One local issue that will receive my immediate attention concerns the wading pool at Winagami Lake Provincial Park,” says Loewen, who became minister Oct. 24.
The popular pool was closed in spring 2019 because of rising costs in the aging structure.
Municipal councils in the Smoky River region and Big Lakes County in the High Prairie area joined together in June 2019 to lobby the provincial government to bring the pool back to life.
Loewen says the pool fits the plan and priorities from Smith.
“The premier has given me a mandate to make improvements in our campgrounds and trails to ensure there are plenty of affordable recreation options for Albertans,” Loewen says.
Letters of opposition from councils indicated the pool was used by countless local families.
Loewen says the government wants to build facilities that are well-used, which would benefit local communities in the Peace area.
“In addition, my office will be reviewing facilities throughout the region to ensure we have the amenities and options needed to meet current usage, as well as to encourage growth in parks visitation,” Loewen says.
On the forestry front, he is committed to build the industry.
“My office recognizes the importance that thriving renewable lumber and pulp industries play in the local and provincial economy,” Loewen says.
He adds the industry also affects agriculture.
“At the same time we want to recognize and promote the important role livestock plays in conservation and carbon sequestration,” Loewen says.
“The premier has given me the mandate to work with our forestry industries and our ranchers to harness their knowledge and make the best possible use of public lands.”
Following are a few key mandate points in the letter to Loewen.

Parks and Tourism

Develop a clear and environmentally responsible policy framework to develop more campgrounds, recreation and tourism opportunities on provincial lands.
Work with tourism parliamentary secretary Miranda Rosin to develop and begin implementing a long-term tourism strategy.
As the lead, work with Trade Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Rajan Sawhney to establish an expedited tourism and hospitality immigration stream.
Assess the advantages of having the full four per cent of the tourism levy invested in tourism-related growth initiatives for Travel Alberta.

Forestry

Develop a plan with industry to use active forestry and grasslands management techniques to maintain the health and biodiversity of provincial lease lands and provide nature-based solutions for carbon sequestration.
Shorten timelines for approval of permits and licences in all areas of the forestry, parks and tourism ministry.

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