Standing above the existing 25 metre pool at the Recreation Centre in Red Deer John Cuthbertson holds up an artists rendering of what the interior of a new aquatic centre in Red Deer could look like.

Standing above the existing 25 metre pool at the Recreation Centre in Red Deer John Cuthbertson holds up an artists rendering of what the interior of a new aquatic centre in Red Deer could look like.

Olympic-sized pool moving closer to goal

Central Alberta Aquatic centre supporters hope they are getting closer to swimming in the Olympic-sized pool they have been promoting over the past six years.

Central Alberta Aquatic centre supporters hope they are getting closer to swimming in the Olympic-sized pool they have been promoting over the past six years.

The project goes before Red Deer City Council at the city’s 2014 Capital Budget Meeting on Nov. 26.

“This is the first time it’s actually on the agenda. This is, we think, the best shot we’ve had,” said John Cuthbertson, committee chair of the Central Alberta Aquatic Centre.

In advance of the budget meeting, Central Alberta Aquatic Centre is hosting a public meeting to provide an update on the proposed project on Tuesday, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the Black Knight Inn.

Cuthbertson said he’d like to see as many people as possible attend both meetings to show their support for the project.

In 2011, city council approved Red Deer Rotary Recreation Park as the location for the facility featuring a 50-metre pool that would finally allow the city to host national competitions.

Council approved $200,000 for a concept and business design at its 2010 budget meeting. Work was completed in 2011.

Cuthbertson said a lot of progress has been made and Red Deer’s bid to host the 2019 Winter Games provides added incentive.

“We’re not building it for the games. We’re building it for the City of Red Deer and it’s people. But the games give us a good opportunity and possibly funds.”

Construction is estimated at $90 million but Cuthbertson said it doesn’t have to cost that much.

The plan features 10 50-metre lanes and a hydraulic floor and bulk heads to divide the pool.

“That means you can have three 25-metre pools, or you can have the 10 lanes, or you can have a combination. For the young kids, people don’t have to be worried about them straying off into the deep end.

“It will be an up-to-date facility that will serve Red Deer and region and attract anything up to a national competition. With the location of Red Deer being what it is, it’s just ideal.”

He said at this year’s Special Olympics swim meet at Michener Aquatic Centre, that attracted a few hundred athletes, there was no room for spectators to sit.

“They had to stand up. They stood up around the pool to watch the events. The place was just crowded.”

Supporters say Red Deer is the largest city in Alberta without an aquatic centre for water sports and activities, competitions, therapeutic and recreational use.

Cuthbertson said as Red Deer’s population continues to grow people may start wondering why the city doesn’t have an aquatic centre.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com