An upstairs walking track, a turf soccer field and an indoor court are all features of the proposed expansion to the South Cariboo Recreation Centre.
The concept, created by HMCA Architecture + Design and proposed by the South Cariboo Expansion Project Working Group, was endorsed by the South Cariboo Joint Committee.
The next step will be public consultations to see whether the committee can garner enough community support to put the project to a referendum.
“We are a long way from the finish line,” says Margo Wagner, vice-chair of the working group.
The concept, as it stands currently, will also include a revamp of the Curling Club kitchen and a new reception area that will connect the arena, the curling rink and the new expansion.
The new addition is proposed to be built over where the Stan Halcro arena currently stands.
The addition is two stories high, with the indoor walking track on the second storey, looping in a bit of a figure 8 around both the turf field and the court so walkers can watch whatever is happening below. The loop will also be framed with windows, so walkers will always be looking outside.
The design is a finalized concept plan reached by the working group.
Wagner says the turf will not only allow for indoor soccer, but other uses such as archery, dog agility, lawn bowling, or could even be used for weddings. Through tournaments, Wagner hopes that both the turf and the court would attract additional income and usage.
The track she expects to appeal to seniors, who want to exercise safely particularly in the winter.
They had a number of options, some which would have omitted the basketball court and some which included extra features.
The cost is estimated at approximately $14.5 million.
“The projected cost is more than we had anticipated but once we started looking at taking things out, the decisions then came down to are we going to build something that might be more financially affordable that doesn’t meet the needs or long-term use of what we want it to be, or are we going to build something … that really envelopes all of the things that we would like to see go in that rec centre and become a true centre for recreation in the South Cariboo.”
Wagner says the working group has already applied for grants and is looking into major corporate sponsorship. The project will not exceed a cost of $65 per $100,000 on property taxes, Wagner says. In order to make sure that number stands, the committee will look to borrow no more than $10 million of the $14.5 million price tag, but Wagner says they won’t exceed that.
“If we can’t get the grant funding for the gap between the 10 million and the 14.5 million, the project is done.”
Still, many in the community question why there isn’t a pool.
In 2012 a committee proposed an aquatic centre for the area. After a feasibility study and a public survey were done, council determined there was not enough public support for the pool proposal to make it to a referendum.
In 1993, a referendum on building a pool in the South Cariboo also failed.
Wagner says estimates done by the committee put the building cost on a pool at $18.5 million and maintaining the pool would cost approximately half-a-million dollars per year more than what the proposed recreation centre would cost.
Because the initially proposed pool would not include enough lanes to make it feasible for swim meets, Wagner says that means it could attract very little extra income.
“So that money — remember there is going to be no money generated from outdoor sources in that pool for the one that was originally designed, no swim meets no nothing coming in — all of that money has to come from the taxpayers to pay to maintain that building.”
While there are several members of the working committee who would love a pool, herself included, Wagner says it’s high time that 100 Mile gets it’s turn at a new recreational facility.
In recent years Quesnel has built a new arena, and Williams Lake has done substantial upgrades to their pool.
“This indoor recreation centre that we are proposing we feel will actually appeal to a wider number of the general public than a pool would.”
The working group is now looking to consult with stakeholders in the area.
On Nov. 9 they’ll be meeting with local groups that either use the current facilities or would have a vested interest in the new ones.
If their financing plan goes ahead following that, they’ll move to public consultations.
“I would like people to try and keep an open mind,” says Wagner. She hopes the recreation centre will work as an attraction to bring young families and professionals to the area.