Fernie has great leisure facilities, from the ice rink to the trails to the parks to the awesome Aquatic Centre. But it was really interesting to get the perspective of an outsider at the council meeting on Monday.
The architect from Vancouver that came to discuss Fernie’s leisure services had done a very thorough analysis of all the City’s facilities and came to the conclusion that we would be better served by one big community centre complex at the site of the Aquatic Centre, rather than by several different centres dotted along the highway and downtown.
While this is a great idea in theory – there is plenty of space and parking at that site, plus it is in a great central location, it does mean that there will be more people congregating downtown. While this is fine for most events, when there is a Ghostriders game, there may be a few more problems. Alcohol is served at the games, and, if the ice rink is relocated to the Aquatic Centre, this means a fairly rowdy bunch of people will be heading out and crossing the train tracks late in the evenings. Alcohol and train tracks don’t usually mix too well, so hopefully this won’t end badly for a Riders fan.
It would certainly be good for businesses downtown to have a group of cheery Ghostriders fans descend on the downtown after a game, but the local residents might not be so impressed, and the watering holes along the highway would definitely lose out from not having the post game crowd.
It definitely makes more sense to centralize leisure facilities in one location, especially because the older centres are in need of upgrades anyway. Now would be a good time to work towards this goal. It would certainly be interesting to get a real estate appraisal done on the current community centre to see how much it could be sold for, and also an indication of how much it would cost to develop this multi purpose community centre, and see what the difference is.
But would you be sad to see the end of the community centre? Have you been going there for years to watch games or go skating? Would you be happy to go to the other side of town to watch the games? Do you think the Max Turyk is a better location? Let us know what you think!