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Airdrie council approves thematic option for first phase of future southwest recreation centre

The estimated cost for the first phase of the centre is between $80 million and $100 million.
Airdrie City council approved a thematic option for the first phase of a future west-side recreation centre at their June 5 meeting.

Airdrie City council voted June 5 to get the ball rolling on a future southwest recreation centre, approving a thematic option for the first phase of the much-anticipated facility.

Before council’s approved motion at Monday afternoon's meeting, Mayor Peter Brown expressed his enthusiasm and the demand for the upcoming recreation centre.

“The recommendation before us is in the best interest of the majority of people that live here,” he said prior to the vote. “It’s not going to please everybody, I’m sure, but based on what I see, I think it’s a great decision.”

During the June 5 meeting, council was presented with two thematic options for the facility's first phase. The first took into account the needs expressed by the community through previous feedback from 2021 and 2022 surveys, while the other focused on sports-related requirements. Both options included allocating spaces for swimming and fitness activities. 

The choices pertained to allocating the majority of funding to a 50-metre lane pool for competitive use and its required supportive spaces, or spreading allocations across a broader array with a 25-metre lane pool, leisure pool, potential indoor family play space, and slightly larger fitness centre.

Eventually, councillors chose the latter option, as they felt it best addressed the widest range of community needs. This option includes a 25-metre swimming pool, a leisure pool, a potential indoor play area for families, and a slightly larger fitness centre.

In a press release issued by the City of Airdrie after the meeting, Brown said he is thrilled to move ahead with the future public facility because he believes it will greatly benefit the people of Airdrie and meet their recreational needs. He emphasized the importance of taking into account the interests of the wider community when making decisions, such as determining which amenities to prioritize for the new recreation centre.

“We want to ensure that this new facility is built in a way that addresses our highest community needs and alleviates the current recreation pressures in the city,” he said in the release.

Currently, Genesis Place is Airdrie's sole multi-sport recreation complex. The need for a similar facility on the west side of the city has long been touted through public feedback as a priority for Airdrie. 

Brad Anderson, Manager of Genesis Place and Arenas for the City of Airdrie, touted the importance of meeting the community's growing recreational needs by seeking feedback from residents and stakeholders to ensure their priorities are met.

“We can have Genesis Place full of meets but then all of the 10,000-plus pass holders become very unhappy,” he said during the meeting. “We also have 1,200 kids on a swimming lesson wait list every eight weeks, so if we were to close the pool for meets every weekend, we most likely would have 1,600 to 2,000 kids on a wait list.

“For us, it’s a delicate balance.”

According to the City, in order to make room for the new centre, a piece of land at the corner of Southwinds Boulevard and Southwinds Drive was purchased in 2018 through a partnership with Mattamy Homes and the Rocky View School Division. The City acquired a 20.85 per cent share of the land for the project.

The estimated cost for the first phase of the centre is between $80 million and $100 million, and it is expected to open its doors to the public in late 2026 or early 2027. The complete project is anticipated to cost in the range of $230 million to $250 million, according to the City's release.

Looking ahead, City administration will now work on creating a project management and procurement strategy. They will present the strategy to the council in the fall of 2023 for final approval.

The goal is to ensure the amenities included in the first phase of the new recreation facility align with the community's expressed needs and priorities.


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