Summerland council looking at next steps for replacing Summerland Aquatic & Fitness Centre

Next steps for rec centre

Summerland council will be setting up the next steps toward the goal of replacing the Summerland Aquatic & Fitness Centre on Monday, deciding when a referendum to obtain electoral approval will go ahead.

The district has been discussing the aging aquatic centre in council chambers for the past few years as it nears the end of its serviceable life.

An engagement process in late 2021 showed public support to build a brand new centre, rather than upgrade the old one.

The latest cost estimate was presented to council last month, which landed around $49 million to replace the aquatic centre. Last year that cost estimate had been roughly $38 million to either rebuild at its existing location on Kelly Avenue or move to Jubilee Road, the latter being the eventual decision made.

The significant cost increase from the November 2021 project cost was explained as partly reflected in the escalated pricing supplies, overall building envelope cost increases, and formwork for concrete. The estimated construction costs are up approximately 28 per cent.

Council requested staff follow up with more information on the exclusions to the current project cost estimate, which will be presented on Monday.

Originally the project timeline had targeted Spring/Q2 2023 to implement a referendum to obtain electoral approval, but staff are recommending waiting until the results of the District’s application to the UBCM Strategic Priorities Fund for $6 million are announced prior to confirming a referendum process.

The grant announcement is expected in the Spring of 2023 and this would push the target discussion for a referendum to Fall Q4 / 2023.

The referendum will give the community an opportunity to vote on whether they support the District of Summerland borrowing the required funds to implement the Recreation Centre project.

If the district is awarded the grant, this information impacts the amount of borrowing that would be required and the referendum question. Staff said they would also provide Council with updated project funding strategies to consider at that time.

Staff will also be continuing to work on obtaining the requirements to complete the application for the Green & Inclusive Community Building (GICB) grant which is due at the end of February.

Council will discuss the options on Monday.

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