Chestermere City Council approved the schematic design of the civic and recreation centre and gave city administration the authority to proceed with the design development phase during the June 15 Regular Meeting of Council.
The new centre will be located just off of Merganser Drive in the new community of Dawson’s Landing and will be situated across the street from two future schools.
The schematic designs by Gibbs Gage Architects show both the internal and external plans for Phase 1 of the multi-phase 11,000 m2 facility. The approved budget for this project is $39.5 Million and will be funded by developers, through offsite levies, and government grants.
“We want every space in the facility to be multi-use, making sure we have as much raw participation in the community as possible. We are designing the facility while being mindful of the programs and services already available in the community, so we ultimately strengthen all of our partners,” said Community Operations Director, Kathy Russell.
“A new civic recreation centre will transform our community through leadership development, engagement of residents of all ages, and healthy lifestyle activities,” she added. “It will also transform the role the city plays in recreation, building civic pride, community development, youth development, and social cohesion by focusing on health outcomes, active living, youth sports, and recreation. Stories of success will be unfolding every day.”
Operational sustainability is at the top of mind for city administration, as the city has intentionally phased in certain amenities into the new centre later to match population growth and to ensure operational costs can be accommodated.
“We have a facility that aligns so superbly with the needs of the community, also something we can afford from the capital side and operating side,” said the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Bernie Morton.
“This is good from our perspective, there’s a high need and demand for a space that can accommodate many user groups, it’s something we can afford, things are aligning very nicely,” he said.
The current indoor designs for Phase 1 include a full-size FIFA and multi-sport field, a walking track, change rooms, a wellness centre, team rooms, and community space.
The new facility will provide year-round space for close to 20 indoor field sports such as soccer, rugby, cricket, ultimate frisbee, field hockey, football, softball, lawn bowling, and lacrosse, as well as community rooms and a wellness centre for fitness activities and exercise therapy.
The outdoor designs also show plans for outdoor gathering space, multi-season amenities, such as basketball courts that can be flooded to create an outdoor rink, outdoor sports fields, bicycle parking, and transit accommodations.
Future phases may also include three arenas, depending on the future of the Chestermere Regional Community Association (CRCA) arenas and future community engagement, outdoor fields in partnership with adjacent schools, a municipal building and library, and the possibility of an aquatic leisure centre, depending on details of a new aquatic centre complex planned for the east side of Calgary.
“This is extremely exciting, it got even more exciting when Mr. Morton reminded us that we don’t build things we can’t afford, we don’t enjoy debt, and we don’t seek ways to find debt. It’s no secret that our community desperately needs this facility. When I saw the design plan, everything that we had ever given as feedback had not only been listened to but really heard and it was a healthy mix of athletic, recreation, and meeting and program space,” said Deputy Mayor Michelle Young.
“Community conversations and research for a new recreation facility have been in the works for many years. It is wonderful to see how all of that effort is coming together in a brand-new amenity for our community to enjoy. Council is leading the way for the future of recreation and community space in Chestermere, and we are doing it without impacting taxes. That’s a win-win in my books,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers.
Adding, “This is a very sound capital financial plan moving forward, and it doesn’t get any better than this. I’m very comfortable with the plan, and the information we have been provided with since the very start.”
The new civic and recreation centre is not intended to be in competition with the CRCA, but to complement the programs and services offered at the CRCA.
“I’m concerned about building something that was supposed to be $32.5 Million, now it’s $39 Million, we need to slow down. I’m not against another civic centre in town, that’s not it at all, I’m concerned about the cost of the project at this time, with the existing debt,” said City Councillor Mel Foat.
“The committee and administration involved in this are extremely aware of the cost, and there’s a reason there isn’t going to be a pool and four rinks. The things we really need are things like the field house, and meeting places, and they are less expensive than some of the other things that we would also like. There’s no time like the present, and the community has been looking for this for a very long time,” said City Councillor Cathy Burness.
The city is confident that residents, parents, spectators, and community groups will be welcome to enjoy the civic and recreation centre in 2023.