Municipalities in the region seem to be split when it comes to a proposed high-performance sports facility in the City of Grande Prairie.
A group including CEO of Pomeroy Lodging Ryan Pomeroy is looking to create a facility that would tailor to elite athletics and would include ice pads as well as training and gym facilities. Organizers have been meeting with various regional councils, asking to help raise around $4.5 million from regional municipalities, in addition to annual operating costs.
Sexsmith Mayor Kate Potter says, despite a very informative presentation from those involved, she believes investing in the project isn’t in the best interest of residents.
“Especially when we think of the current economic challenges, and the time it’s going to take to rebuild what we’ve lost over the last year in terms of our long-term resiliency and stability… the timing of it was just not fantastic,” she adds.
City of Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton says they support the idea of the facility itself, but too many questions remain to offer financial support at this time.
“When you have athletes of that calibre, having a facility like that is what will keep people in our community.
“The city has not said we will not necessarily put any dollars in until we see a business plan,” she adds, “so we’ve offered to work with the group to put a business plan together and from there we will be able to assess if it makes sense to put dollars behind it.”
Clayton says, as it stands, the build could be practical as a joint venture, but she doesn’t think the city or any single municipality could support the project on its own.
“With support from regional partners this facility would be something of consideration, and I think with support, with all of the region involved, it would make sense.”
County of Grande Prairie councillors endorsed the concept of the facility and have vowed further support into research and development, but stopped short of approving financial support.