A new indoor swimming pool, more gymnasium space, a fitness centre and an indoor walking/running track are on Vernon’s wishlist.
Vernon City Council, the District of Coldstream Council and Area B & C Directors had their first look at preliminary design options for the proposed Active Living Centre during an ongoing feasibility study.
Four initial designs and three revised options were presented to the elected officials on Dec. 16, following the first round of public engagement through a series of focus groups, an online survey, several pop-up community events and an open house.
Through the engagement process of the 2018 Recreation Master Plan, the Greater Vernon community identified a need for new indoor recreation opportunities. The feasibility study is now underway to better understand the costs and benefits associated with public investment in new indoor recreation facilities.
According to public feedback, there is a strong desire within the community to build a new aquatic facility (with a 50 metre pool), more gymnasium space, a fitness centre, an indoor walking/running track and dedicated program multipurpose spaces. The designs presented include each of these items, providing options to build a new stand-alone facility, retrofit current facilities, or use a blend of both.
“It’s important that we continue to engage the Greater Vernon community and receive feedback on these designs,” said Doug Ross, director of recreation services. “This is a significant investment for our region and the goal of the project is to find an indoor facility mix that meets the current and future needs of a growing community, while also having the opportunity to attract new residents and visitors to the Greater Vernon area.”
Each of the proposed designs takes into account capital and annual operating costs. Construction costs for the revised designs range between $59-$78 million, but it’s important to note these are class D estimates.
“These are very high level estimates that are deliberately conservative,” said Ross. “The estimates include many contingencies and are only based on a concept right now. As the project becomes more defined, estimates will tighten up. It is better to see costs go down as designs develop, rather than the other way around.”
When the feasibility study is complete, a report will recommend whether it’s best to build new spaces at one time, or do the project in phases over a number of years. The report will also assist Greater Vernon Recreation to identify a balance between what the community wants and needs and what the community can afford.
“It is paramount that we continue to receive public input,” said Ross. “There are many factors to consider for each design option, including cost, location, accessibility and facility offerings. We invite everyone to review the proposed designs online and to take part in the next round of engagement opportunities in the New Year.”
To see the designs and learn more about the study process, please visit www.gvrec.ca and click Active Living Centre.