Coun. Graham Parsons is enthusiastic about the town’s new recreational complex, which will be open to the public on Friday.

Sylvan Lake celebrates new recreational complex

The $33.5-million NexSource Centre destined to become a town gathering place.

SYLVAN LAKE — Out of the snow-crushed wreckage of the Sylvan Lake Arena a state-of-the-art recreational facility has risen.

The $33.5-million NexSource Centre is ready to open its doors to the public on Friday and will become the recreational heart of one of the fastest growing communities in Canada.

Two regulation arenas, one topped with a three-lane running track, five-sheet curling rink, aquatic centre and a seniors centre have been seamlessly connected in the new facility. Multi-purpose rooms, a new lounge and children’s play space round out amenities.

Coun. Graham Parsons ran the Sylvan Lake Arena for 40 years and was among those who felt its loss most keenly was thrilled by what he sees now.

“It’s been a three-year roller coaster,” he admitted.

“But what this did is bring the whole community together. Right off the bat, the Hockeyville campaign started and that brought everybody together.”

Sylvan Lake would win Kraft Hockeyville in 2014. That success came with a $100,000 prize and the right to host an NHL pre-season game, which saw the Calgary Flames face off against the Arizona Coyotes before a standing room-only crowd of 1,000.

Parsons was hard pressed to single out the best part of the new facility, which features lots of natural light, clever design and the latest in lighting and heating technology. In a neat touch, it has heated sidewalks to keep them clear of snow and ice.

“Everything about it is tremendous,” he said. “I can almost forget the last three years because today is the day it is.”

Dave Brand, Sylvan Lake’s director of public works, predicts the impact on the community will be “monumental.

“The community has waited a really long time for this facility.”

One of the challenges of the project was incorporating existing facilities, such as the aquatic centre and an arena into a larger facility.

“This feels like one facility. You can move freely throughout it and can really experience everything it has to offer.”

On the innovative front, a heat recovery system will take heat generated by cooling equipment for the rinks to heat the building and pool water.

Coun. Chris Lust said it is a facility that will bring all ages from youngsters to seniors together in one facility, as well as participants across the sporting spectrum.

“I think it’s just a wonderful facility for the community,” she said. The town was even able to promote local culture by soliciting public art for a venue that will provide huge exposure.

An official grand opening, ribbon-cutting ceremony and other events will be held May 12-14.

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