Council gets first look at Servus expansion
Public invited to comment on plan for next 60 days
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 03, 2012 06:00 am
Growth over the last three years in use of different parts of Servus Credit Union Place has reached a plateau and the facility needs to consider expansion in order to make room for current and future members, its manager says.
Diane Enger, facility director for Servus Place, took city council through the conceptual plan for expansion during Monday’s council meeting, showing the areas of highest demand and how the facility could expand to meet future needs.
However, no details will be set in stone until the end of a 60-day public consultation period that will include opportunities for feedback from the community at large, as well as an open house.
“Our first step is to determine what the community is looking for,” Enger said. “The next step would be, based on the feedback we receive, determining what is the next step.”
The conceptual plan, entitled A Plan for the Future, has been placed on the city’s website for public viewing. Completed in 2010, it outlines several possible ways to renovate and expand the building in response to growing demand for services.
Expanding the fitness and wellness centre is a priority, identified by both users and staff, as its average use during peak hours sits at approximately 100 people per hour, in excess of the 60 people per hour benchmark associated with good use. The plan calls for expanding the front entrance towards the sidewalk, on top of which the expansion to the fitness centre would be built. Several multi-purpose rooms would also be knocked out to provide more space for new locker rooms.
“We do know that in our last survey, about 45 per cent of users buy a membership specifically for the fitness centre but a lot also for the aquatic centre,” Enger said.
Other conceptual changes include building more space for potential businesses on the main floor near the new front entry way, turning the leisure ice and indoor playground into a child and youth area, creating an outdoor recreation space and adding a lane-swimming pool to the aquatic centre, as well as two new lanes to the indoor track on the third floor.
No cost for the proposed expansion has yet been tabled. A final report, including cost options and how to expand the facility will be brought to council March 2013.
“We do still owe some money on the existing facility and we are running an operational deficit,” Coun. Malcolm Parker said.
Built in 2006 for $42 million, Servus Place rang up an operational deficit of $2.2 million in its first year of operations. That deficit has since shrunk to $600,000 in 2011.
“We’re running at 86-per-cent cost recovery,” Enger said. “We know revenues have grown 42 per cent in the last four years and expenses only 16 per cent, so to continue to grow revenue, we need additional space for that.”
In total, more than a million people walked through the facility in 2011. Between 2008 and 2011, use of the aquatics area has increased 31 per cent to 298,234 users, the fitness centre has seen 320,434 or a 22-per-cent increase and program participants increased 63 per cent to 120,261.
Mayor Nolan Crouse said he was glad Enger and her staff were pursuing a long-term vision for Servus.
“I made my point that if you don’t have the plan, you make mistakes along the way,” Crouse said. “Everything you do must nudge it towards a long-term vision.”
Residents who want to share their thoughts can view the plan and send in their comments by visiting www.stalbert.ca/servusplaceplan. An open house is tentatively scheduled for mid-November. The deadline for the 60-day consultation is Dec. 1.