Photo by Byron Hackett/ Advocate Staff Philip Menard of Calgary plays a shot as partner Leo Charney of Cochrane watches at the Red Deer Pickleball Open at Pines Community Park.

Pools and pickleball debated

City council looking for some hard numbers on pool and pickleball facility costs

Pools and pickleballs will be further pondered.

City council approved a pair of motions in capital budget deliberations this week directing staff to get more background on what would be involved in pursuing an aquatic centre and pickleball facility, both of which have council’s support in principle.

Council dove into the aquatic centre debate once again during budget talks Thursday.

Coun. Vesna Higham, who supports a new pool, questioned whether cheaper alternatives may be available than the $104 million pencilled in for the facility in the city’s 10-year capital plan.

Council confirmed its commitment to the project and voted to keep the $9 million placeholder for planning the facility in the 2019 capital budget. Construction would potentially begin in 2021 and the cost spread out over three years.

Before any money is spent, council wants more information. A motion was passed directing staff to come back with a “background report addressing general pool infrastructure needs and potential scope options by April 2018.”

Council wants more information in light of a recent report on the “limited utility” of Michener pool, council’s revised strategies for future growth and the “challenging landscape” of provincial and federal funding.

A future pickleball facility was another issue batted around the council table. Council voted Monday to leave $15,000 in the 2018 capital budget for consultation and planning with a $1 million placeholder in 2019 for construction.

Council voted to move a pickleball facility back into the budget conditional on council’s approval of a site and budget.

Coun. Ken Johnson said several locations in Red Deer are being considered and public consultation will happen before any spot is picked.

Johnson said a report could come back to council as early as spring.

The $1 million is a ball park estimate based on 20 courts at $50,000 each.

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