Members of the city's community services committee received an update on plans to build a twin-pad sports complex in Valley East, approving a cheaper version of the plan that comes in at about $28.4 million.
That compares to a $36 million plan presented in July, which made changes to the original plan and significantly increased costs.
Designed by Amber Salach of Yallowega Belanger Salach, the July plan was a result of community consultations that were concerned the project was eating up eight of 28 acres of greenspace near the Howard Armstrong Centre. But the new design not only cost a lot more, it eliminated five soccer fields.
But even the revised and lower-cost plan is not yet funded, the committee was told.
“There’s still a lot of steps to go,” said Jeff Pafford, the director of leisure services. “There are no funds currently for detailed design or capital work.”
Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo, whose ward includes Capreol, said the entire project would have to be funded by taxpayers. But taxpayers in Capreol would lose their second rink, something residents are petitioning to stop.
“The petition isn’t just signed from people in Capreol,” Jakubo said. Other people in city don’t want to spend this much money at the expense “of some of the other city needs.
“I’m going to need to see some real economic data,” he added, that shows a real cost benefit to the project.
Since a second pad was reopened in the community, he said it has helped spark significant investments in the area – translating into about 40 jobs.
“If you look at the booking numbers, you’ll see the second pad doesn’t get a lot of use during the week,” he said.
But it's very busy on the weekends, and having it brings a lot of economic activity to the community.
While approving the design, no money has been allocated for a more detailed design, or the actual construction. That would have to come in a business case and be approved by all of council at budget time.