Summerland council has chosen a preferred site for a new recreational facility for the community.
The facility is to be a replacement for the Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre, which has reached the end of its serviceable life.
Two options have been presented to council. One is to build a new facility at the existing location on Kelly Avenue. The other is for a new facility on Jubilee Road East, in front of the Summerland Arena and the Summerland Curling Club. At the Feb. 28 Summerland council meeting, council chose the location in front of the arena.
The feasibility and site fit study, completed over the past eight months, was presented to council at the Feb. 28 meeting.
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A team of consultants, led by Carscadden Stokes McDonald Architects Inc., worked on confirming a preferred site location for a new or renovated aquatic and recreation centre, providing detailed concept design work, completing a capital cost estimate and high-level cost-benefit assessment, considering sustainable building opportunities, and undertaking a comprehensive community engagement process.
The new recreation facility is proposed to be 60 per cent larger than the current facility. The existing building opened in 1976 and has received renovations and upgrades over the years.
The new facility is slated to include a 25-metre, six-lane pool for swimming and a separate, warmer leisure pool with associated aquatic amenities, as well as fitness and recreation spaces.
A referendum on this is expected for the spring of 2023.
The referendum is needed for council to enter long-term borrowing. The timeline also allows staff to seek out possible grant funding.
Coun. Richard Barkwill said it is important to keep options open for the future of the arena. As a result, he would not support the location as the site for the new pool.
Coun. Erin Trainer said she preferred the location in front of the arena since it would keep recreation services close together. In addition, she said there are concerns about the delay involved in demolishing the existing pool and rebuilding at the same site. These delays are avoided if a new site is chosen for the new pool.
Coun. Erin Carlson said she appreciates the opportunities to create efficiencies by having the arena and pool in the same location.
She added that while parking may be an issue at this site, it is also an issue at times at the location of the existing pool.
Coun. Doug Holmes said the site of the existing pool does not allow for a larger facility to be constructed there.
The location in front of the arena was selected by council, with Barkwill opposed.
“Confirming a strategy to replace or update the Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre is a big step towards a key council priority — one that is also a recommendation in the district’s 2018 Parks and Recreation Master Plan,” said Mayor Toni Boot. “Providing quality aquatic and recreation services in Summerland is a key factor in supporting healthy and active lifestyles for our residents.”
Council will review additional project next steps in future meetings, which will include decisions such as if a childcare facility or gym should be considered as part of the new facility.
The completed Summerland Recreation Feasibility & Site Fit Study and supporting reports are available for viewing at www.summerland.ca/rec-and-health-centre.
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