‘Disappointing and frustrating’
Area Ward 2 Coun. Bev Esslinger said she was shocked to learn of this change in price because the approved budget was intended to cover all of the amenities. Planning for the new rec centre next to the Peter Hemingway Fitness and Leisure Centre dates back to 2007 and has involved significant consultation from neighbouring communities and local sports associations.
“When they redid the analysis, it’s $46 million more than originally anticipated, which is really disappointing because the community has been waiting for this for a long time. This has been a long project,” Esslinger said in an interview with Postmedia Sunday.
“I don’t understand how we can be off that much because the programming intent has not changed. It is disappointing and frustrating because with our financial situation right now, I’m not sure where this project will end.”
Even more frustrating for Esslinger, if the project does go ahead under the currently approved budget of $112.3 million, public consultation would need to start over again because it doesn’t represent what was initially presented to the public.
Potential two-year delay
This would delay the opening of the facility to 2026 from 2024, which Esslinger said she’s not interested in pursuing. If what was presented goes ahead, the project could be shovel ready by early 2021.
The project relies on $4 million in funding from the Argyll Velodrome Association and World Triathlon Series Edmonton, who would be frequent users of the site. But without being a facility that can host international events, that funding could be at risk.