Rocky View County’s (RVC) Recreation Governance Committee has approved the business plan for the future $32 million recreation centre in Langdon.
The approval came at the committee’s Feb. 1 meeting, and is the first significant step needed toward finally taking the proposed facility from concept to the building phase.
The new facility, when constructed, will include a fieldhouse, community hall, multi-purpose room, studio space, seniors’ activity space, interior running track, lease spaces, offices, and boardroom. It will also become the eventual home of the Langdon Public Library, which is currently operating out of a temporary space.
The Committee unanimously approved the business plan for the site, but not without some questions about some of the elements excluded from the new rec centre’s design – namely an ice rink.
There is no current indoor ice facility for hockey in the community to support Langdon’s growing population of young families. Most Langdon residents travel to nearby Indus, Chestermere, or Strathmore for hockey, ringette, or figure skating programs.
Coun. (Div. 7) Al Schule, who represents the hamlet, asked why the County would be considering spending large amounts of money to build out the Indus rink into a twin arena instead of just including a new ice surface as part of the design scheme for the Langdon Recreation Centre.
“I believe for 10 per cent more (over the $32 million), roughly, you could add in an ice rink,” he stated. “The Indus (twin arena) extension has been going on for 15 years … I understand they are having issues extending their rink for what was originally proposed due to the change in building (costs).
“Does it make sense to contribute to Indus more or give that money we are contributing to Indus, and build an ice rink now (in Langdon)?”
RVC Recreation, Parks and Community Support manager Dari Lang acknowledged Schule’s assessment of the rising costs associated with the Indus arena twinning proposal.
“The County has committed $1.6 million toward this (Indus) project,” she explained. “I think they initially thought the second ice rink could be built for $5 million, but as time has passed and costs have gone up, it’s probably looking more like $8-12 million.”
Lang stated that the main reason the County’s paid consultants and staff had ultimately excluded the ice arena for the future Langdon Rec Centre is the site’s space limitations would mean if the rink was built, the fieldhouse would have to be eliminated. And, Lang said, it would also balloon the annual operating cost of the new facility substantially. The operating cost for the $32 million facility has been pegged at about $300,000 per year as it stands.
After some further discussion on the issue by committee members, Schule then made the motion to accept the business plan as presented. His motion was supported unanimously.
Langdon Community Association chair Chrissy Craig said, overall, her members were happy to see the committee push the plan forward as it is something the community of more than 6,000 people has been eagerly waiting a long time for.
“The need for this facility is way past due,” she told the Rocky View Weekly. “It is not what we envisioned, but we are happy it is moving forward and it is something, at least. There are some good things in the plan, and there are some things missing we couldn’t get, which is unfortunate.”
Craig admitted for her members, despite the committee’s approval of a $32 million facility, the fly in the ointment was the omission of the ice arena.
“I know the community has really wanted an ice rink, and that’s the biggest thing the community will be missing out on in there,” she said. “Ice is needed. It is very much a hockey community. So the ice rink is not in there, and that’s the only disappointment. The other items are needed just as much, but it would have been nice to see an ice rink.”