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Curling club plans $21 million rink, rec centre

A 12-sheet curling rink and a multi-sport and community centre worth more than $21 million are being eyed for Red Deer’s northeast side.

With the help of outside funding, the Red Deer Curling Centre is seeking to first build the rink and then the recreational centre next.

The project, pegged at $21,472,000, would be constructed on land that the curling centre hopes to lease from the city.

Greg Scott, manager of the city’s Recreation, Parks and Culture Department, wouldn’t reveal the exact location because it’s “very confidential at this point.”

The 10 acres would be shared with the Red Deer Friendship Centre and Heritage Family Services which have their own building projects in mind.

Lyn Radford, chairwoman of the new building committee, said a new facility is long overdue because the current rink is old by today’s standards and there’s increased popularity in the sport.

“We get a curling rink once every 50 years,” Radford said. “Economically, we’re missing out on a lot. A lot of major curling bonspiels will not come to Red Deer because the consistency of the ice cannot be controlled in the rink that we have.”

The curling club’s current eight-sheet rink was built in 1953 next to the Red Deer Arena. Plans are to convert this rink into an indoor tennis facility.

Radford said it’s hoped that construction on the rink could begin this fall.

Timelines for the multisport and community centre haven’t been ironed out.

In a staff report, Scott said consultants retained by the city 24 years ago suggested the standard should be one sheet per 3,300 residents. With Red Deer’s population expected to reach 100,000 by 2011, the city should have 30 sheets of ice.

“As compared to the standard recommended in the city’s 1985 report, Red Deer has been failing, and will continue to fall short with respect to ice surfaces for curling,” Scott said.

Michener Centre also has its own four-sheet rink.

On Monday, city council will be asked to support the curling centre’s grant application to the communities component of the Canada-Alberta Building Canada Fund. Council will be further asked to agree in principle to lease the land to the curling centre, once a site has been confirmed.

The city is also being asked to contribute $1 million towards the cost of the curling rink, with matching funds from the curling centre, as required by the Building Canada Fund.

Scott said it’s hoped that the Building Canada Fund would generate $6.9 million. The fund requires cost-sharing among all three levels of government plus money to come from the curling centre.

The curling centre would further kick in another $7.5 million towards the rink, bringing the total cost of the project to $14.4 million.

The second component — the multisport and community centre — is estimated at just over $7 million.

It includes 6,000 square feet of space for the local archery club, plus another 6,000 square feet for the local fencing club. The judo club may set up in a smaller area.

Radford said other space could be used for community events including weddings and fundraisers.

The friendship centre is planning to construct its own building while Heritage Family Services would develop affordable housing on the west end.

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