Illustration provided by Town of Hinton
Council members displayed their commitment to involving the community in the concept and design of the new aquatics facility during the standing meeting on July 16.
After being presented two aquatic centre concepts at the Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre during the meeting, council members didn’t feel comfortable choosing one over the other before consulting the public.
“The goal will be to have some open houses in September, and after that the borrowing debenture bylaw. This is high level and this will likely change over the next little while,” stated CAO Martin Taylor as he presented the options and recommended council select one to move forward on.
Instead, recommendations were made by council to present both of the aquatic centre options at this year’s registration and information fair, as well as the Parks West Mall before the end of September.
“It’s not to answer questions but it’s to build on what they expect to be in this facility and that’s what these interactions are going to be,” said Coun. Trevor Haas about the public presentations.
Other councillors echoed that the presentations were meant to gather public input rather than to answer questions on the future of the facility.
The two concept options show an expansion of a new aquatics centre in the current recreation centre area, which was directed by council previously to spend $25,000 on conceptual designs, stated Mayor Marcel Michaels.
“As far as amenities, they’re not particularly different. As far as visual impact, they’re vastly different. They look completely different if you’re driving past on Switzer drive and I think that’s a big thing for people to get behind,” said Coun. Albert Ostashek about the concepts.
“To me, option 1A just has a better layout of the facility. Better traffic-flow, better interaction, especially in terms of accessing the library,” said Coun. Ostashek.
Councillors expressed a desire to utilize the summer to gather input from the public on the two concepts before moving forward.
Taylor stated that more detailed financial information regarding the facility would be presented on Aug. 26, but that the current high-level estimation cost is between 24 and 29 million dollars.
Coun. Tyler Waugh asked what the estimated cost was based on, and Taylor reminded council that a list was put together of possible items to be included and provided to the architect earlier this year.
“Those will still be moved quite a bit because of cost,” Taylor explained.
Coun. JoAnn Race voiced her concern over not having more financial information to give to residents as they present the concepts.
“I could give you a rough estimate on revenues and expenses, but until you decide what we want to
build, probably hold off. People understand that you have to borrow money, that’s a given,” said Taylor.
A more detailed estimated cost would be presented before the end of the public feedback process, prior to the registration fair.
Taylor added that funds will be necessary to carry forward with the architect.
“Council will have to spend some cash in terms of going further, cost estimates, geotechnical work, all that stuff,” he said.
“Architectural drawings themselves, you’re probably looking at a million and a half dollars, probably more. Those are the hard costs. We’re not going to do the drawings until we do the geotechnical, the engineering analysis of the existing building tying into another building, and checking what’s under the parking lot. Those are all costs.”
Taylor stated that the Town has been working on the recreation centre project for multiple years with a variety of different architects and different consultants.
A report was mentioned to come forward to a council meeting with a timeline regarding the project and how they got to this point.