Three years after Rotary Recreation Park was earmarked as a potential site for an estimated $90-million aquatic centre, a committee is bringing forward another proposal to council on Monday.
The Red Deer Multi-Use Aquatic Centre Ad Hoc Committee is recommending a $74.6-million facility with a 54-metre indoor pool ($71.1 million) and a 25-metre outdoor leisure pool ($3.5 million) at the downtown site.
Council footed $200,000 for a three-phased study that included a site selection process, a concept and business plan in 2010. The final report was received as information with included a $90-million price tag for an aquatics centre connected to the Recreation Centre a year later.
At the time, council reasoned the cost was too high to move it up in the 10-year capital plan.
The new ad hoc committee determined that the site was the best fit, followed by Michener Centre and an undetermined greenfield site (undeveloped), based on the information available and guiding principles. Some committee members suggested a north site near Hazlett Lake as a potential greenfield site.
Committee chairman David Lustgarden was reluctant to speak about the committee’s work and recommendations before his presentation to council.
Lustgarden said the committee worked hard to understand all the issues around a potential multi-use aquatic centre.
He said the recommendations are not a scaled-down version because nothing was ever finalized. In March 2011, the 2010-13 council approved Rotary Recreation Park as a potential site.
“There was all kinds of suggestions and recommendations and different amenities that were included in an aquatic centre,” said Lustgarden. “It really is a multi-use aquatic centre . . . . If you took everything we had on the table, it might come to ($90 million) or higher.”
He said the committee made recommendations based on the current needs of Red Deer and into the future.
The potential timing of building the proposed project and the uncertain future of Michener Centre emerged as major considerations and concerns, according to the committee report.
Committee members also wrestled with the difficulty of making a decision without knowing where city council would land with the project.
All councillors said “yes” to a project to build a 50-metre indoor pool in the Advocate’s pre-civic election survey in October 2013.
Rising inflation each year if the project continues to be delayed was a concern. As a result, the committee does not recommend a phased construction approach as a fiscally responsible or cost-effective option for the proposed facility.
The committee met 10 times from April 30 to June 26.
Principles were built on accessibility, fiscal responsibility, community focus and sustainability.
The committee passed resolutions on the guiding principles, amenities, dive tank, site, cost estimate and aquatic standards. It was formed earlier this year to review information and make recommendations on size, location, included amenities and phasing of an aquatic centre to city council.
Council will take the information into consideration when debating its place in the capital plan and the community amenity project.