Recreation centre feasibility study controversial

Spending $156,000 for a feasibility study on the provincially-owned Roland Michener Recreation Centre drew some flak from city council on Tuesday.

Spending $156,000 for a feasibility study on the provincially-owned Roland Michener Recreation Centre drew some flak from city council on Tuesday.

The city has leased the facility from the province since 2007.

City manager Craig Curtis told council the study would determine the feasibility and projected costs related to operating the building independent from the rest of the Michener Centre.

Coun. Lawrence Lee questioned the logic of spending money on a building that may not end up in the city’s hands.

Curtis said there have been some preliminary discussions with the province at the administrative level that would have the facility transferred to the city.

Curtis said the city has to be prepared in the case the province offers up the building.

“The building is currently in the need of renovations. Although they said they would give us a three-year lease, they haven’t consummated that,” said Curtis. “We are a little bit in limbo but we really don’t know what the facility needs. … My recommendation is to get ahead of the game with a study with their permission and to position ourselves to negotiate.”

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes wondered about a cost-share of the study with the province.

Curtis said the province did a study a few years ago and likely underestimated the condition of the building. Curtis said if they negotiated on the province’s term, they would likely end up with the wrong end of the stick.

The study would also look at the feasibility of constructing the multi-use aquatic centre at the site. Residents identified enhancing the Michener Centre as a community priority the city’s 2014 Community Amenity project.

Coun. Lynne Mulder said there has to be some money put into the study in order for the city to see what they are getting.

She said the community would be very disappointed if they did not do enough to secure the site.

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