An image of the conceptual design of Sparwood’s proposed multi-purpose facility. (Image courtesy of District of Sparwood)

An image of the conceptual design of Sparwood’s proposed multi-purpose facility. (Image courtesy of District of Sparwood)

Sparwood’s multi-purpose facility comes to light

Conceptual images of the facility have been released, and residents are invited to learn more at an open house on Thursday

Sparwood locals have the opportunity to get answers to all their questions about the proposed multi-purpose facility at an open house at the Sparwood Leisure Centre on September 29.

The open house, which runs from 6pm to 8pm, is intended for Sparwood voters to learn more about the multi-purpose facility project, how it has gotten to where it is in the planning stage, and to inform their decision on whether to say yes or no to the district borrowing up to $15 million for it to proceed beyond it’s current conceptual designs.

Mike Harrington, who is chair of the committee that oversaw and guided the conceptual stage of the project, explained that they had gone as far as they could in the process, and now it was time for the community to have it’s say before it could go any further.

“We want to inform the community of where we’ve gotten to, and now we’re taking feedback. We’ll also explain the process of what was included and what wasn’t,” he said.

The conceptual design, which can be found on the District of Sparwood website, on display at the Greenwood Mall, and through the district’s social media, showcases a large multi-purpose facility which would be added on to the existing Recreation and Leisure Centre on Pine Ave.

Guided by community feedback gathered through various district surveys on quality of life and services, the space is intended to include amenities for indoor volleyball, basketball and soccer, for the space to be usable as a banquet space, and for an arts community space, while the concept also has an indoor walking track above the main space.

The space in meant to serve as a centralized hub for community events.

Harrington stressed the conceptual nature of the plans as they exist today.

“We have to start with something to have a rough cost estimate,” he said. “As we fine-tune in the detailed stage – which if the voters say yes, we go into that stage – we can go into further details.”

Voters will decide on October 15 whether to allow the district to proceed with securing funding for the project via borrowing, with a $15-million dollar question on the ballot. Voters will be asked if they wish to allow the district to borrow up to $15 million for the project.

The overall cost of the project is not yet known, but the district expects it will cost at least $20 million to complete as envisioned, with funding to come from borrowing, grants, and capital funds from the district. Without permission from voters to borrow up to $15 million for the project, it will not proceed.

Harrington said that with more feedback from the community on September 29, the advisory committee would be able to put more work into the project in determining what the community wants, and what it can do without in the plan.

“It’s an opportunity for the public to learn and get questions answered, and should the referendum answer be a yes, provide further input to the next stage.”

He said that he hoped district residents would think about what they pictured Sparwood as being in the future, and to inform their decision based on that.

“It’s multi-purpose, we want it to provide an opportunity for new, different and expanded usage and opportunities, be it arts, culture and sports in the district that we currently do not have.”

The open house on Thursday begins at 6 and goes through to 8, and residents have the opportunity to calculate costs to their taxes online, and at the open house. Schematics and information about the project will remain at the Greenwood Mall through to the referendum.

READ MORE: Sparwood to vote on borrowing millions for major projects
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