We are all for the City planning ahead and exploring options in terms of capital projects and growth.
However, this can be taken into the realm of dreams and impossibility when something is so far down the road that a number of circumstances can shift the outcome in a number of ways.
Take the proposed aquatic centre for example. City council got a sneak peek this week at the detailed design plans for this new facility which is set to be located at the current Recreation Centre.
The Rec Centre recently went through an enormous renovation project that cost millions and it looks terrific. Adding onto this building will obviously change the look again, not to mention add up to a hefty price tag when all is said and done.
As to the plans for the proposed aquatic centre, courtesy of a Toronto-based architect, it’s not set to even be developed for at least the next 10 years unless private partners generously support the project. That seems most unlikely.
We are left wondering why detailed plans came forward now when in another decade, the needs and the priorities of the City could change significantly not to mention, the technology and equipment that would ultimately become a part of the facility. We also have no idea how much this will end up costing.
And speaking of costs, City council gave the aquatics group $200,000 to explore the feasibility of this venue. Looking so far into the future without a construction date, why are we spending this money now?
It just seems very premature, particularly in a time when municipalities are still having to be somewhat cautious with spending, especially on projects like this.
At this time, this project seems more like a ‘want’ than a ‘need’ for the City of Red Deer, in spite of folks saying Red Deer is falling behind because we don’t have a 50m pool.
One aspect of plans that council will no doubt hear about from the public is the proposal to cut the current outdoor pool in half. That just seems to be regressive. On any given summer day, that pool is virtually packed and has been for decades. To eliminate half of this popular pool makes no sense at all.
That’s not to say we are not in favour of Red Deer ever having a 50m pool in a brand new aquatic centre. We just question the process of how this is unfolding.
We believe that this a plan that simply wasn’t needed at this time. And we will find ourselves, over the next several years, likely changing much of it anyways. Which undoubtedly will cost thousands upon thousands more.