Plans that will see Edmonton build the first indoor triathlon centre in North America remain on track after city council voted to stand by its decision to fund the Coronation Community Recreation Centre.
The centre will have a 250-metre indoor cycling track, a 400-metre running track and will be connected to the existing swimming pool in the Peter Hemingway Fitness and Leisure Centre, at 138th Street and 111th Avenue.
That will make the Coronation rec centre a bona fide place to train for and host triathlons, said Stephen Bourdeau, general manager of World Triathlon Series Edmonton.
Bourdeau said the centre will be important for the community of about 5,000 active triathletes who currently have a hard time finding suitable training space.
“We don’t really have a home,” Bourdeau told CBC News. “We’re always kind of fighting for swim lanes here, time in a gymnasium here for biking, and running through the hallways at the legislature in the winter as some place to run indoors.
“This centre finally means we’re going to have a home.”
In addition to the cycling velodrome and running track, the new sports facility in northwest Edmonton will have a fitness centre, multipurpose rooms and a child play space.
This centre finally means we’re going to have a home– Stephen Bourdeau, World Triathlon Series Edmonton
David Embury, secretary and treasurer of the Argyll Velodrome Association, said the indoor velodrome will replace the organization’s “worn-out” outdoor cycling track, which has been around since 1974.
“We are anxious to continue our efforts to complete the unique, one-of-a-kind community resource,” he said on Monday. “We’ll hold international level cycling events — world cups, junior championships, junior world championships, masters world championships.”
It will be the first indoor triathlon centre in North America, Bourdeau and Embury say.
Many sports centres can accommodate two disciplines but Bourdeau said Coronation will be the first to link three disciplines together indoors.
“It’s actually one of a kind in the world that we’ll have here in Edmonton,” he said.
The Argyll Velodrome Association is working with the Triathlon Series Edmonton to raise $4 million next year.
They also plan to launch a public fundraising campaign in tandem with the World Triathlon event in August.
Embury noted they’re working with Cycling Canada to have the indoor velodrome designated a national training centre.
Construction on the Coronation rec centre is scheduled to start in 2021.
The project’s future seemed tenuous last week when Coun. Jon Dziadyk raised a motion during budget talks to defer the facility for a year and reconsider it when, as he said, “city-wide attendance rates at recreation centres return to target levels.”
Councillors Moe Banga and Mike Nickel voted in favour of the motion, which was defeated on Friday by a 10-3 vote.
That means the facility will stay on the books, while council instead deferred the Lewis Farms Facility and Park in the west end.
Council earmarked $16 million last December for the Coronation centre, on top of an original $112 million approved in December 2014 as part of the 2015-2018 capital budget.
Coun. Bev Esslinger said residents in Ward 2 have been waiting 12 years for the rec centre.
“We have to fulfil our commitment that we made before we move onto other projects,” Esslinger said Monday. “And if money’s tight, what do you do first? I think the one that’s been waiting a very long time.”
Esslinger said the community expects city hall to follow through with funding commitments, especially when council makes decisions that advocate active, healthy lifestyles.
She said this facility fits the bill.
“There’ll be the community rec centre part — they’ll play basketball and do all the things they do at a rec centre — then they’ll also serve people that want to do cycling year-round. It’ll be for the beginner athlete up to the elite athlete.”