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City to seek expressions of interest for new-look community and rec centre project

Council is moving forward with a new plan for the community and recreation centre project.

Staff have been directed to prepare and issue a Request for Expression of Interest for the construction of a new centre by the Omischl Sports Complex with an upset limit of $52 million.  

Top priorities with the minimal functional programming include two ice pads, a dozen change rooms, a small community space described as a small boardroom, and more.  

Councillor Tanya Vrebosch voted against the motion for a few reasons, with accessibility at the top of the list. 

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“Barrier-free is probably the big one,” she says. “I keep talking about accessibility and what is the cost to us for accessibility. To me that’s where, in this report, I can’t see that it’s there as a number one priority. If we’re just going to go down to municipal code and what does that mean.”  

Vrebosch also said user groups weren’t consulted about their priorities for the project and she’s concerned about the ease of just adding components to the ‘rink in a box’ design with money from reserves at a later time.  

Councillor Jamie Lowery was the only other dissenting vote, citing safety concerns for referees during the earlier committee meeting.  

He also asked staff if there’s a plan b if they don’t get any expressions of interest.  

Chief Administrative Officer John Severino says staff would come back to council with a recommendation to possibly reevaluate the $52 million upset limit or functional program. 

“It’s tough to speculate that we’re not going to have expressions of interest,” he says. “We’re understanding that there are potential proponents that have expressed interest. They haven’t expressed them directly to staff but we have heard anecdotally that there are people that are looking at it.”  

As for timing, Severino says the expression of interest could go out to market by mid-October with a tender for the project possibly issued ‘sometime this year’. 

All of that would need to be approved by council.  

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