If I had $13 million dollars. Participants asked to build a rec centre

Above: Alanna Hratiw arranges recreation components as part of a workshop at the Multi-Use Recreation Facility Stakeholder Advisory Groups meeting Thursday night. Each of the nine tables received a “build your own facility kit.” The concept was for each group to create their vision of the facility and consider how the facility could be designed based on the construction and operating costs. If they exceeded the $13.75 million in the 2015 budget for recreations, participants were asked for funding ideas.

– Lucie Roy Photo

by Lucie Roy

More than 50 people gathered at the cultural centre Thursday night to brainstorm and vision how they would spend the $13.75 million in the budget to build an arena/rec facility. Funding options were called for by those who went over the $13 million budget. The exercise gauged whether the public interest in the facility was towards a one-time build or a phased-in approach, and what amenities were the priorities in both approaches.

Morinville Mayor Lisa Holmes, Councillors Stephen Dafoe, Brennan Fitzgerald and Barry Turner joined CAO Debbie Oyarzun and facilitator David Ramsey in providing answers to questions and guidance during the stakeholder session.

Attendees formed nine table groups, each given a package outlining rough capital and operating costs for a variety of potential amenities. Those amenities included a field house, running track, main arena, second ice sheet, leisure ice rink, aquatics, fitness center, spa and steam room, common area, studio space, curling rinks and a school.

The different recreation components appeared in different priority positions on each of the nine sheets put together by the groups, but the idea of attaching a school found its way onto only two of the nine combinations.

A new arena, specifically a 1400-seat arena rather than a 1000-seat arena was a component in eight of the nine groups’ presentations.

arenaMany who opted for aquatics in their project plans opted for a scaled-down version rather than an Olympic-style pool. Several of those saw the inclusion of aquatics in a second phase of the build within a five year period rather than in the first phase.

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Similarly, the groups seemed to see some life in the existing curling rink and scheduled its replacement within the proposed complex at a later phase so as to allow more new amenities early on. As such, the curling rink would be a standalone facility.

All nine groups opted for a multiplex design rather than a standalone arena design. One group advocated building the entire facility at once while others recommended a phased approach over a short period.

Funding options offered by the public included traditional debenture borrowing and repayment through either a community revitalization levy or recreation facility requisition similar to the Sturgeon Foundation requisition on tax bills. Other ideas included selling the current arena land, leasing land at the new 77-acre location, selling memberships, sponsorships, and commercial and retail rentals.

The information from the nine groups was annotated, compiled and will be brought back to Council in their role as project steering committee at a future date.

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1 Comment

  1. I attended this session and now see just how huge a project this facility will be. I would suggest there be a small allowance for a first aid room.


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