Council gets first look at aquatic centre

Concept plans for a new aquatic centre show a dramatic wedge-shaped design allowing sunlight to flood in over a 50-metre competitive pool, diving tank and even a specialized feature for honing surfing skills.

Competition-ready pool

Competition-ready pool

Concept plans for a new aquatic centre show a dramatic wedge-shaped design allowing sunlight to flood in over a 50-metre competitive pool, diving tank and even a specialized feature for honing surfing skills.

City council will get a first glimpse on Monday of the kind of recreational facility envisioned for Rotary Park, which was approved as the site for a potential aquatic facility by council in March.

The striking design would retain the existing Red Deer Recreation Centre pool, but would add a huge addition to the south, featuring a 54-metre competitive pool, diving well, hot tub and double flow rider to create a continuous wave for surfing or kneeboarding. The addition would be built into the ground and lower than the existing pool and would include room for 900 spectators.

Gone would be the existing outdoor pool, but a smaller outside leisure and lap swimming pool would replace it next to a large open-air lounging area.

Huge change rooms would be located on the east side of the complex, along with facilities for competitive swimmers and time keepers.

A fitness centre, additional multi-purpose rooms, a child-care area, concession area and lots of indoor and outdoor seating spaces are proposed.

A number of environmental features are incorporated into the design. A green roof featuring natural vegetation would reduce storm water, solar photovoltaic panels would be installed to generate electricity and solar panels would be used to help heat pool water. Rain water would be collected to irrigate and flush toilets and there will be plenty of natural ventilation with large garage-style doors that can be opened to allow breezes to flow through the complex.

The concept plan was created as part of a $200,000 project approved by council in 2009 to see what type of complex could be built on the site available.

No other money has been approved for the project, which falls outside the city’s 10-year capital plan. The concept modelling provided by Edmonton-based Marshall Tittemore Architects and Toronto’s MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects is not yet complete. A final plan, including cost estimates and a business plan, is expected later this year.

A consultant undertaking a site analysis estimated it would cost $84 million to build a facility at the Rotary Park, compared with $112 million elsewhere.

Central Alberta Aquatic Centre group, a coalition of pool users from competitive and synchronized swimmers to kayakers and water polo players, wants to see the project started in 2013, the city’s centennial.

Under the city’s current building time line, the project would be started in 2021 at the earliest.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com