Morinville green lights arena construction, still working on funding for other phases

by Tristan Turner
Morinville News Correspondent

Following multiple unanimous motions (excluding the absent Deputy Mayor Nicole Boutestein), Town Council has approved the beginning of work on their three-phase rec centre project. This is one of the final stages required on the part of the Town before construction begins in earnest on the regional centre, in the works for nearly all of this council’s term.

The resolutions came following a presentation from Stantec, the company commissioned to produce the design, on the near-final plan for the structure itself. The presentation provided an overview of the lot and building plans, along with a timeline for the project.

The four motions Council unanimously approved Mar. 28 involved receiving the Stantec report for information, proceeding with final design drawing, proceeding with construction management, and appointing Councillor Gord Putnam and Deputy Mayor Nicole Boutestein to an administrative committee overseeing the construction management.

The site will be a multi-use rec facility, but phases two and three are funded later, and, as outlined in the project plan, will contain more recreation options than will be available following the phase one.

Skating and running in Phase 1

The first phase, to be completed in September of 2018, will feature a hockey arena and common area space, including concessions, meeting rooms, and facilities space. There will also be a second floor providing a fitness area and walking track that travels around the arena. A second outdoor roofed sheet of ice may be included if budget allows. The indoor rink will ultimately provide approximately 1000 seats, 800 of which will be on the second floor – 400 being movable bleachers and another 400 fixed seats.

More to come later

Phase two involves adding a fieldhouse with appropriate facilities attached to the centre, and second-floor seating.

Phase three incorporates a hot ticket item that has been debated in the community on both sides; an aquatic centre, complete with change rooms, concession, a viewing gallery, a leisure pool, four-lane pool ‘lazy river’ and a hot tub.

The Stantec plan included a study on how a curling rink could additionally be accommodated, including the potential for a second-floor viewing lounge. No final decision has been made on its inclusion in any phase.

Above – concept of potential uses for 77 Acres for illustration purposes.

The plans included a conceptual drawing of a large portion of the Town’s 77 Acre site just East of East Boundary Road and North of Highway 642. The drawing included many additional site features including a large parking lot with space for future lot expansion, a toboggan hill site, four baseball fields, two soccer fields and an outdoor running track over much of the lot. None of these features are in any way final and were presented purely as a concept for what could be fit into the remainder of the large plot of land. Layout for the entire site besides the building itself, including these potential outdoor amenities, is to be decided when Council approves the site plan at a future date.

Town and County still working together

Though this is regarded by Council as another important milestone, which sets the project in place enough to begin construction, timelines on construction for future phases have not yet been set in stone.

Several members of Morinville Town Council and Sturgeon County Council are working together on a business case in the hopes of securing grant funding for a full build out, but no word on when that will occur has been received.

The total project has been estimated to cost $60 to $75 million. Morinville’s current borrowing capacity is approximately $28 million. The arena portion was once estimated to be $17 million.

Complete timeline and presentation can be found online at:

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  1. “Phase three incorporates a hot ticket item that has been debated in the community on both sides; an aquatic centre”

    Debated, yes. Overwhelmingly in support of it; yet remains an afterthought and a completely unlikely phase. If/when it does ever get built, you shouldn’t expect to see it before 2022.

    Residents demand pool.

  2. An issue of money always comes up and I for one taxpayer cannot afford a pool. One always forgets the HUGE maintenance costs of maintaining and operating a pool. You should talk to the Town of Westlock and find out some of their problems.

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