Regina city council votes to approve new aquatic centre
It took Regina city council just three hours to approve the catalyst committee’s recommendation on a new aquatic centre. Council also voted in favour of applying for Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) funding.
If the ICIP funding is secured, the new aquatic centre would be built on the Lawson site.
The city is looking for $128 million in infrastructure funding. $108 million goes towards the pool, and $20 million goes towards a geothermal plant to keep the lights on with a boiler as backup.
“This aquifer-heated pool is the definition of a catalyst project,” said Bob Hawkins while addressing council members.
Twenty-nine per cent of the funding will be coming from the city, and the rest will be from both provincial and federal governments.
Currently, the city has until March 14, 2023, to send the application to the provincial government. It will then make its way to the federal government with a deadline of March 31st.
Regina Mayor Sandra Masters is hopeful the funds will be secured.
“If we can proceed with this, it positions us really well in terms of continuing to not just serve our community, our growing community but to host events here as well for some of our competitive teams,” Masters said.
Brian Brunskill is a geologist in Regina. He says the city is perfectly positioned to welcome geothermal as the aquatic centre’s energy source.
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“Under Regina, there is an aquifer about two kilometers deep,” Brunskill explained.
Brunkskill estimates the aquifer will be able to provide energy to the aquatic center for 50-70 years.
The funding has a condition that when the new aquatic centre is opened, the Lawson aquatic centre must be decommissioned within five years.
City administrators said the Lawson has a current life span of 5-7 years.
If environmental conditions deteriorate at the Lawson site, the yards have been placed as a secondary location.
During the catalyst committee public presentations, the indoor aquatic centre had three options.
The functional approach came at low-cost price tag at the expense of amenities offered. The enhanced came with a $183 million price but was larger and featured more competitive facilities with the added benefit of a larger community space. City administration chose to go with the third option known as the optimized approach.
It features two 50-metre pools, play spaces and wellness features. It was picked as the successful candidate to meet the needs of current users and future users.
When final designs have been completed, the city will host a series of community engagement sessions to be transparent with the community along with hearing feedback on things they might have missed.
If everything goes according to plan, people could be swimming at the new facility by 2028.
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