Concerned Swanavon residents have pushed the discussion about the construction of a new recreation building in the area to 2025.
In 2023, Grande Prairie city council approved $500,000 in funding for the construction of a multi-use and multi-season covered outdoor structure. However, after concerns from residents of the neighbourhood, and discontent with the original design among councillors, administration was tasked with coming up with alternative options.
Councillor Chris Thiessen says he is pleased with the additional options but says higher price tags have given some members some pause.
“I think originally we were blown away by the first cost of the [first design] and these other covered outdoor structures are a bit more glamourous; they definitely come with a bit more of a multi-million dollar touch,” he says.
Four additional options have been presented on top of the original design, with costs ranging between $2.7 million and $5.9 million, compared to the original cost estimate of $1.1 million.
Additionally, Thiessen expressed concerns about the potential location of the structure, saying putting the facility in a residential area like Swanavon would only bury it and discourage residents from around the city from using the amenity.
“As much as I like building up the neighbourhoods, we also have a neighbourhood rink program that currently is undersubscribed. I want to make it accessible to as many people as possible, and not make it a neighbourhood amenity, but a community amenity.”
According to Thiessen, council is actively searching for sponsorship opportunities to help mitigate the cost of the more expensive options, but no paperwork has been signed as of yet.
“I think council always envisioned some type of sponsorship arrangement and I know that administration has worked very hard to lock down some of those. There are some potential sponsors out there, but we haven’t signed anybody on yet so it would be too premature for me to disclose any of those discussions.”
Council is scheduled to discuss the matter further in its November 14th meeting.