Rethink rec centre plan

(Kelowna’s) new Parkinson Recreation Centre plan, being considered by city council, is way over the top. The latest estimate is to borrow $155 million of the $167 million (total).

The plan discussed in January was to have the new building in the vicinity of the existing facility, with access off Harvey Avenue. The most recent plan is to construct the new facility and parking lots on the green space/playing fields north of Mill Creek. There will also be additional costs of constructing new access.

What will the environmental impact be of placing this facility on green space? How will the public be affected by losing playing fields? What will happen with the current site following demolition?

Council should go back and review the 2015 options analysis. Four options in 2015 were investigated and Options 2 and 4 will do the trick. Option 2 includes a renovation of a portion of the (existing) PRC, plus new building and Option 4 is a new building in the same area as the current facility.

These will be the same size as the proposed new facility (triple the size of the current one), provide for the community’s needs for years to come (as required) and generate substantial revenue. Further benefits will include allowing the existing facility to remain open during construction, located along Harvey Avenue (Highway 97) so the northern fields won’t be lost and new access roads will not be required and less expensive.

These options were costed out at (around) $50 million in 2015 dollars.

Even if the cost rose by 50% to $75 million in todays dollars, the cost would still be lower by about $90 million compared to the proposed opulent plan.

What could the city do with the extra $90 million ? What about the impact on residents’ taxes? The $90 million difference could be used to construct another community centre or not borrowed at all.

Council needs to take another look at the 2015 study, as those options will still get us what we want but at a much lower cost.

But will it (take another look)? Let’s hope.

Susan Ames

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