In 2004, the Hanwell Local Service District Advisory Committee (LSDAC) responded to an initiative by the Brookdale Recreation Association (a volunteer group made up of interested residents) to assist in the establishment of a community playground on Camber Drive. A petition for recreation and sports facilities was forwarded to the Minister to initiate the addition of that item in our annual budget.
In December of 2004 a public meeting was held to add recreation as a line item to the Hanwell LSD budget. At that meeting residents voted overwhelmingly in favor (88%) to add recreation to the budget. As a result, the Hanwell LSDAC recommended that funding be approved for the park which has enabled the Brookdale Recreation Association to have the soccer field leveled and play ground equipment installed.
This park is open to all residents of the Hanwell LSD. As a result of improvements, the park has seen a significant increase in usage. During the summer, the Brookdale Recreation Association has approximately 150 children between the ages of 3 and 11 participating in soccer. There are also approximately 50 children who participate in T-ball.
During the years of 2006-2007 the city of Fredericton made a proposal to the provincial government for the cost sharing of their proposal of two new arena’s in the city, The request involved asking for long term financial commitments from the surrounding LSDs and Villages. The option was that if the LSD did not support the financial support proposal then individuals would have to pay high user fees to access the city’s recreation infrastructure. Support of the initiative would result in a general property tax increase to Hanwell residents of 3¢ per $100 of assessed value ($30 for a $100,000 home plus inflation). After much discussion from both supporters and non-supporters it was put to a vote, which was in favour of the proposal. Therefore the residents do not have to pay city assigned user fees to access the recreation facilities operated by the city.
A lack of broader recreation services in Hanwell led to a inquiry from the HLSDAC to Local Government as to the possibility of having a portion of crown owned land held in trust for our use so that we could develop an area that could be used for mixed recreational activities. The Hanwell LSDAC was informed that the Minister of Local Government had moved away from the practice of holding land in trust for LSDs and that recreation funds could not be utilized to lease or rent land. It also cannot be utilized to establish an incorporated body which could hold land for the LSD. This put the LSDAC in a catch 22 position. Regardless of this, in 2007, the LSDAC requested that crown land be conveyed to the LSD. Our Local Service Advisor sent a memo to this effect on March 5, 2007, however, the Minister of Local Government did not respond.
In 2007 a group of concerned citizens formed the Hanwell Community Development Association. The Association is an incorporated body which will be able to hold land for the LSD. Its purpose was to acquire property for community purposes, primarily to obtain and develop a parcel of crown land. The parcel of land which was leased in 2012 as the Hanwell Recreation Park is located across from Eaglewood subdivision. In 2015 the lease was acquired by the rural community Council.
A recreation park Master Plan was done by Glenn Group, and laid out the possisble uses of the Hanwell Recreation Park including walking trails, sports fields, a community hall, and other recreational facilities. Detailed cost estimates were included. Members of the Association held public meetings to determine Hanwell residents' priorities, and members have improved the property with a trail network. The Association continues to manage the development of the park.
The rural community Council also formed a Hanwell Recreation Committee. This committee's mandate is to look at recreation within the community. Funding guidelines were established for recreation proposals from community groups and a Recreation and Leisure Master Plan was developed.