A company hired to come up with a design concept regarding future recreation facilities for Salmon Arm has created a preliminary plan city council likes.
On Monday, May 13, council unanimously approved, in principle, the study presented by Melissa Higgs of HCMA Architecture and Design.
She outlined the extensive gathering of input that led to the final concept presented. It began in June of last year, assisted by Quantity Surveyor Ross Templeton + Associates as well as Building Condition Assessment + Energy Modeling Morrison Hershfield.
“This is about process and I think the process has been very inclusive,” said Mayor Alan Harrison. “People in the community have had an opportunity to put forward what their ideas are.”
It was discovered that the existing building and systems have life remaining, and have been well looked after, she said. However, about $4.2 million in upgrades would be needed, $3.2 million of that in the next five years.
“It was quite a joy meeting with your community,” she noted, adding that a great response rate was also received in an online public survey.
Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond said she appreciated that the consultants didn’t make any assumptions.
Overall, 80 per cent of people who provided input in the various ways it was gathered preferred Option B, building a new pool and fitness centre, rather than renovating and expanding the existing one. The big reason was Option B would mean few or no pool closures, she said.
Another key issue heard was the need for eight swimming lanes, not six, in terms of being able to host events.
Coun. Debbie Cannon noted that when council recently toured the Penticton pool, they learned that it took about 18 months to build, so closing the pool upset their ability to retain staff and left the public without a facility.
Coun. Sylvia Lindren inquired about energy efficiencies and Higgs said that would be addressed further in the next phase.
Read more: Pool plans disappoint Shuswap swim Clubs
Higgs said there was lack of support for plans for performing arts space from the key local performing arts stakeholders, but she said the cultural master plan now being worked on could help guide direction.
Two concepts were drawn up – one including an approximate 300-seat performing arts space and another with a multi-purpose auditorium, both in the current location of the recreation centre gym. She said the accommodation for change would allow time for further planning.
Phase 1 would be a new pool with a fitness centre on a second level overlooking the pool at a ball-park cost of $38.4 million. The pool would potentially include an accessible ramp, a large community-scaled hot pool, a lazy river and slide, universal change rooms at pool side, an improved viewing space of the pool and a staging area outside for competitions.
Phase 2, with an estimated price tag of $5.5 million, would convert the existing pool into a gymnasium and multi-purpose rooms.
Phase 3 would be renovation of the multi-purpose auditorium at an approximate cost of $1.5 million, or converting the multi-purpose auditorium into a dedicated performing arts space at an estimated cost of $5.5 million. She said the performing arts space could be a theatre in the round, or possibly have the ability to push the seating back completely.
Coun. Chad Eliason said he hopes the community will rally around the performing arts space, given that the opporunity for such a centre arises only every 35 to 40 years.
Total cost of the concept: an approximate $45.4 million or $49.4 million, depending on the Phase 3 option.
“I think you’ve given us a very good start,” Coun. Kevin Flynn said. “I have no problem supporting this in principle.”
The city’s longterm financial plan could see the facility built, with the right grants, in 2027, Harrison said, with no tax increase. He pointed out that the city needs to be ready with a ‘shovel-ready’ plan for when grants become available.