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District ponders indoor space options

Sparwood has three options available for additional indoor space

District of Sparwood councillors have received a report on options before the district on creating a multi-purpose facility.

Within the Parks and Recreation Master Plan draft currently undergoing public consultation, a recommendation was made that the curling rink (located within the Recreation and Leisure Centre) could be re-purposed for other indoor activities such as a climbing wall, basketball, volleyball, pickleball and more.

The plan pointed out that membership of the local curling club, and use of the rink was low.

Council members had directed staff to prepare a report on options in regard to the proposal, including a comparison to an extention to the existing facility, or a new stand-alone facility.

In a presentation on the three options to the committee of the whole at the district of Sparwood, Director of Community and Facility Services, Duane Lawrence reported that consultants engaged by the district had found that re-purposing the curling rink could tick most boxes for indoor space.

“Within the existing footprint, you can accommodate most of the activities that we want,” he said, explaining that space would be tight however, with no room for spectators, and that spaces would be too small for sports competitions.

“With an extension(option 2), you’d do it with buffers so you can have spectator seating, you can have larger footprints and ensure you are utilizing the space correctly for a basketball full size court. And you have more capacity for your events. The new construction (option 3), obviously, is whatever you want to make it.”

Price was a big point of conversation however.

“The downside to the new build is (it would cost) $14.9 - $20.1 million - so substantially higher costs.”

The cost of renovating the existing facility ranges between $4 -$7 million, while an addition is between $5.5 - $9.2 million.

Options 1 and 2 both included the loss of the curling rink.

Cr. Saad voiced opposition to any plan that would mean the loss of the curling rink.

“If we go into (renovating), and then we decide we wanted a curling arena we’re still looking at $22 million (in costs). I still think standalone is the way to go.”

Cr. Bowen said he believed a $22 million build was “out of the question,” - sentiments Cr. Cardozo echoed.

“I think $22 million is a lot to spend, I don’t know that we need to do that,” she said.

“With the second option we get most everything we want, and for the cost, it just seems to make more sense.”

Cr. Christensen also said he had issues with the $22 million price tag of a new facility, but added that “I’d really like to keep that curling rink,” opting for the second option on the table.

Cr. Saad agreed that $22 million was a lot, but pointed out that it was “up to $22 million” in a range of $14 - $22 million, “so it’s going to be decided by what we decide,” he said, before adding that he wouldn’t consider any option that saw the loss of the rink.

“If we’re going to lose the curling arena to have a multi-purpose hall, I would say to hell with all of it.”

Cr. Jarina also signalled opposition towards losing the rink, reading off a list of users of the facility.

Mayor Wilks said that he wanted more public consultation on the options available, directing city staff to set up mayor and council meetings with the public.

“We would like to see how far (the public) want to go, because ultimately they’re going to pay.”

Mayor Wilks said he hoped for there to be more consultation in the new year, and said he wanted more information on finances and what was possible, pointing out that the district didn’t have the money and would be borrowing for all three options, and saying that he didn’t believe a decision could be made based on the hope for grants.

“It’s all fine and dandy to say we’re going to Teck or go wherever and ask them for money, but they also tell you to go pound sand. So let’s just make the assumption that there are no grants,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see what the public have to say.”

The Parks and Recreation Master Plan is currently undergoing public consultation. Public consultation on the three options discussed by the district will possibly be carried out following the completion of the Recreation Master Plan consultations and adoption.

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