An artist’s preliminary rendering of the north entrance of the $29-million multiplex proposed for Sylvan Lake.

Sylvan lake budgets $29M for proposed multiplex

A $29-million budget has been set by Sylvan Lake town council for its proposed multiplex.

A $29-million budget has been set by Sylvan Lake town council for its proposed multiplex.

The budget is significantly higher than the $16.5 million estimate in preliminary planning of two years ago. But that number was soon out of date as the project’s scope expanded, particularly after it was decided early this year to add a five-sheet curling rink. The rink had earlier been proposed as a stand-alone facility.

Other changes included incorporating an existing aquatic centre and a multiplex built in 2006 into the Sylvan Lake NexSource Centre. The facility will also include fitness rooms, a running track, seniors and children’s activity centres and other meeting spaces.

“$29 million is our first real directed budget amount,” said Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre. “Up until now we were determining the needs of the community and designing accordingly.”

Council’s decision on Tuesday provides the number architects need to prepare detailed designs for the facility.

A maximum $13 million will be borrowed, council decided. Another $4 million will come from franchise fees, which are paid by natural gas and electricity providers to the town.

User groups and other contributors are expected to contribute about $2.55 million, fundraising and sponsorships $2 million, $2 million from a provincial grant, plus another $2 million from neighbouring municipalities.

The curling club will contribute $1.5 million and the town is already at 60 per cent of the $2-million fundraising goal.

The town’s recreation reserve fund will be tapped for $1.85 million and another $1.5 million will come directly from taxes.

Sylvan Lake’s $100,000 prize for being crowned this past winter as Kraft Hockeyville will also go towards the new facility, which is much needed after heavy snow collapsed the roof of one of the town’s two arenas last winter.

Council made it clear that $13 million in borrowing was the cost that could be supported.

“With an unlimited amount of money we could do an unlimited amount of things, but we do have to be responsible with spending on development and make sure we’re within our means and we decided a debenture amount of $13 million was as much as we were able and willing to provide for the project,” said McIntyre.

The borrowing is expected to push the town’s total debt load to $26.1 million in 2018 — about 67 per cent of the limit allowed under provincial regulations. The percentage of allowable debt will drop to 44 per cent by 2024.

The next step is for the volunteer design committee overseeing the project and architects to create detailed designs.

Council will make a decision on the design after the committee makes its recommendations.

Town spokeswoman Joanne Gaudet said council has included a large 18 per cent contingency to ensure there is money available for unexpected expenses.

If all goes to plan, it is expected shovels will go into the ground in 2016.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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