The City of Fernie is looking at building a new multi-purpose community centre at the Aquatic Centre site. Photo by Thomas Hopkins

The City of Fernie is looking at building a new multi-purpose community centre at the Aquatic Centre site. Photo by Thomas Hopkins

City of Fernie to investigate new multi-purpose community centre

Feasibility study and costing to support grant application

The City will spend up to $20,000 investigating the feasibility of building a new multi-purpose community centre in Fernie.

The feasibility study and costing will support a grant application to two funding streams under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, a multi-agency cost-sharing initiative.

At Monday’s regular meeting, the new council heard from Director of Community Services Marta Proctor, who explained that many of the City’s facilities are aging and past their life expectancy.

She said the concept of a multi-purpose centre that merges all facilities into one was first proposed in the 2013 Leisure Services Master Plan.

These could include an arena, community hall, gym and meeting room.

According to City documents, staff have identified that building a new multi-purpose centre would have “significant positive impact” on both the capital and operating budgets, reducing annual maintenance costs and current financial pressure for the replacement of major assets, and allowing time for the establishment and implementation of a responsible asset replacement program.

The Master Plan proposes three options for facility renewal with the preferred option being developing a multi-purpose centre at the Aquatic Centre.

On Monday, councillors approved the Committee of the Whole’s recommendation that up to $20,000 be reallocated from the 2018 capital projects budget to complete a feasibility study and costing to support the grant application.

Proctor reassured councillors that once the study and costing are completed, the matter will come before council again before the application is submitted.

She said the study will include stakeholder engagement and while there was community consultation during the development of the Master Plan, there will be opportunity for more in the future.

In a release issued by the City on Wednesday, Mayor Ange Qualizza said the funding streams are an exciting opportunity for the City.

“We look forward to the completion of the grant application and hope to see this project become a reality in Fernie,” she said.

“If we are successful in this grant application process, we will be meeting with community stakeholders to inform the project design process. Our goal with this opportunity is to provide the community with a valuable asset for years to come.”

What are the funding streams?

– The Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure (CCRI) program is intended to improve access and quality of cultural, recreational and community infrastructure through new or renewed infrastructure projects. This is a cost-sharing grant between the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments; the total senior government contributions include up to 73.33 per cent of eligible project costs; the minimum local government contribution is 26.67 per cent. Funded projects must be completed by 2024.

– The Rural and Northern Communities (RNC) program provides additional eligibility for the CCRI grant and is specific for communities with smaller populations. Total senior government contributions include up to 90 per cent of eligible costs; minimum local government contribution is 10 per cent.