Council gets new report on proposed aquatic facility

Three pools are part of the blueprints of a suggested $74.6 million Multi-Use Aquatic Centre at the Rotary Recreation Park.

  • Jul. 8, 2014 3:38 a.m.

Three pools are part of the blueprints of a suggested $74.6 million Multi-Use Aquatic Centre at the Rotary Recreation Park.

Council heard recommendations from an ad hoc committee that was tasked with determining the scope of a proposed aquatics centre on Monday.

It was only a few years ago that council paid $200,000 for a consultant’s report and subsequently endorsed the Rotary Recreation Park as a potential site for a $90-million facility.

The same report assumed the closure of the Michener Aquatic Centre.

This time around the committee made up of residents and councillors weighed the current and future needs of the community while looking at guiding principles including accessibility, sustainability, community focus and fiscal responsibility.

Committee chairman David Lustgarten said the committee recommends that the city should pursue all avenues to keep the Michener Aquatic Centre pool open for public use.

The location has not changed while the price and amenities including a separate dive tank, wellness areas, and retail spaces were identified.

The report suggests retaining the Recreation Centre pool, building a 54-metre pool and downsizing the outdoor one to 25 metres from 50 metres on the site.

Lustgarten said timing played a part in recommending using the Rotary Park site.

He said they used the information available to make decisions.

“If we knew the decision by council to build a new facility would be in five or six years as opposed to now we might have gone to another facility,” he said.

The committee also recommended building the centre sooner than later because of inflation.

Mayor Tara Veer said the outdoor pool is a much-loved community amenity that Red Deerians have enjoyed for many years.

Apart from the hefty price of building the facility, the recommended closure of the outdoor pool drew strong reaction from the community when council adopted the previous report as a planning document in principle.

Veer said council hears it when there is any reduction in service from closing an outdoor rink to stopping free firewood. She said she appreciated the good work of the committee but she felt unresolved on the outdoor pool.

“We didn’t feel that based on the amount of people who use it outside of lane swimming that it would actually be required,” said Lustgarden. “We thought if we don’t need the space, let’s use it for other leisure activities.”

Coun. Lynne Mulder said while the report was just for information, she feels better informed to make a decision when the time comes at the capital budget meeting in November.

The resolutions and the report will now become a part of the community amenity project and council’s information for future decision making. Council will consider the report once more when it comes time to crunch numbers as part of the capital plan in November.

In other council news:

Stabilizing the Red Deer River bank in the Riverview Park area to the estimated tune of $6.3 million was moved forward the 2015 capital plan from the 2017 plan. Council directed administration to develop a funding plan including application and advocacy efforts for provincial funding for toe stabilization.

In 2009, the city annexed land that included Riverview Park residential area, Heritage Ranch and the Alberta Sports Hall of Frame from the County of Red Deer.

A 2012 report showed homes were at future risk because of the regressing slope along the banks.

Last year the city purchased and demolished two on Cronquist Drive $1.4 million because they were at risk.

None of the remaining 22 homes in the area are at immediate risk.

Stabilization would prevent further slope regression. Council also gave the green light to allow development/redevelopment in the area using an escarpment overlay of 50 years.

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