Red Deer city council is expected to inch forward on the long-anticipated new aquatic centre after discussing the project’s parameters at this Monday’s council meeting.
Once the general scope of the centre is established, a consultant can be hired to come up with a more detailed plan and location.
A report going to council from the recreation, parks and culture department envisions a new facility that can host swimming, synchronized swimming, diving and water polo competitions.
It would have plenty of spectator seating, as well as wet/dry warm-up areas and storage.
The proposed centre is described as being a multi-functional regional asset for fitness, length swimming and competition training.
The complex would incorporate an “outdoor aquatic element,” such as a lap and/or leisure pool (that could be either part of the aquatic centre or be in another location).
Environmental sustainability and accessibility would also be part of the “fiscally responsible” design.
Interim city manager Tara Lodewyk supports the general parameters as outlined in the report.
But council might have to reconsider the time frame for a consultant to get public input, consider past proposals for the aquatic centre and present a report to council.
Council previously set this for last summer or early fall. But administrators feel this is too soon: “Should we push the consultants to do this timing, council runs the risk of having limited proposals to do the work, costly proposals to do the work, or limited information to debate,” the report cautions.
A multi-use aquatic centre was first envisioned in 2011, when a concept plan was developed by a joint task team. The preferred location was the Rotary Recreation Centre, with a renovation of the existing building.
This vision was “reconfirmed” with cost reductions in 2014 by an aquatic centre ad-hoc committee. But in 2018, the significant cost of the project, combined with a slowdown in city growth and the economy, led to it being pushed back to 2023.
However, strong community desire for the centre led council to move up its detailed design phase, making $3.5 million available in 2019 and 2020 during the 2019 budget deliberations.