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Community Matters

Shell Place For Kids

August 28th, 2013

By: Theresa Wells

As Shell Place was developed by community engagement and approved by Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo council, one of the region’s fastest growing demographics was not forgotten:  the Under-18 crowd. In a community with a skyrocketing birth rate, the development of a facility that features plenty of sport and entertainment options for children and young adults was of vital importance.

“When Shell Place was in the design phase it was crucial that all potential users of the facility be considered,” says Tim Reid, Chief Operating Officer at MacDonald Island Park. “If one looks at our current facility, and considers the demographic of users at the Suncor Community Leisure Centre, you realize children and families form a huge part of our user group. This had to be a factor in the design of Shell Place, and the community told us that loud and clear.”

Set to open in 2015 Shell Place will meet the needs of many user groups, but a focus on family and community ensures it will be a continuation of the family friendly atmosphere that is the foundation of the MacDonald Island Park experience. From field houses for sporting competitions to a badminton centre perfect for new participants in a growing sport, an outdoor ropes course to a community pavilion and more, Shell Place was conceived with children, and our collective future, in mind.

“One of the most important pieces of Shell Place, and one likely to have the biggest impact on families, is the non-profit shared space,” says Reid. “This space will become home to some of the non-profit organizations in our community, such as minor sports leagues, as well as those that serve residents in other capacities. In a community with a young and growing population this home for non-profits is destined to serve families, and children.”

Many of the Shell Place facilities have an outdoor element that celebrates healthy outdoor lifestyles and activities and invites families and children to enjoy all the natural beauty of northern Alberta while still being steps away from a myriad of indoor sport and recreation opportunities.

“The interpretive trail that is being incorporated into the Shell Place development allows families to enjoy the outdoors while learning about this region and the history of this community. The trail leads them back to the largest recreation experience in the country where they can participate in sports, visit non-profit organizations to access their services, and enjoy major concerts and community events,” says Reid. “The synergy between these elements – the natural forest that surrounds us and the many recreation and entertainment options – makes Shell Place a great next step in our development as a sustainable community.

In a community where the question often posed is: “What should we do with the kids today?” the new Shell Place expansion and the existing Suncor Community Leisure Centre and Miskanaw Golf Club at MacDonald Island Park seem to be the answer that will be on the lips of every parent in the Wood Buffalo region.

Theresa E. Wells is the Communications Coordinator, Capital Projects, at MacDonald Island Park. An eleven-year resident of Fort McMurray and mother to a thirteen year old daughter, she is passionate about community and opportunities for children to explore the exciting world we inhabit.


















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