Categories: Local News

Servus Place officials to pitch expansion

Staff at Servus Credit Union Place will be asking council to put an almost two-year-old report up on the city’s website so the public can weigh in on the facility’s future.

Monday’s city council meeting includes a request by staff for council to authorize it to put the report entitled Servus Credit Union Place – A Plan For the Future, completed in December of 2010, on the city website for 60 days to allow for public comment.

A second motion calls for a final report based on that feedback, with financial analysis, be completed by March of 2013. A third motion would place the plan in the city’s 2014 to 2024 capital budget.

Staff were tight-lipped about the presentation Friday as council has not yet seen it, but the 2010 report calls for an expanded fitness and wellness area and locker rooms, as well as adding two lanes to the indoor track.

Other proposed changes include taking out the leisure ice and indoor playground to replace them with a child/youth area and expand the aquatic centre by adding more lane swimming space.

While the facility’s business and marketing manager Mark Edwards said it was too early to include a dollar figure with what he called the “very conceptual” plan, general manager Chris Jardine mentioned the total value in an email.

“What is going to council Monday is the long term conceptual expansion plan which at build out over say 20 years would likely approach more like $25 million in 2012 dollars,” Jardine said.

His email came in response to a question about the nature of the expansion. The city’s 10-year capital plan contains an unfunded capital item for the expansion of Servus Place. It offers two options — an interim expansion worth $6.5 million and a proposed full expansion worth $15 million.

Edwards described those options as ”place holders.”

“Where we’re going with this Monday night will be putting together a bit of a conceptual idea, but we need to get input from the community,” he said.

Both Edwards and facility director Diane Enger were hesitant to share details before Monday’s council meeting, wanting instead to wait until council had voted on the proposal.

Edwards said the main drivers for the conceptual expansion plan were crowding in both the fitness centre and the locker rooms, a steady source of complaints for staff. This year’s facility satisfaction survey indicated 80 per cent of 777 surveyed customers said Servus Place needed to expand, with 73 per cent specifically saying the fitness and wellness centre needs more room.

Edwards said Monday’s presentation would just be the beginning of the process.

“It’s really just to start this process of gathering feedback,” Edwards said. “We’re making the process public and getting council to endorse that.”

Enger had little to add, other than to say, “We’re taking the plans to council on Monday night for long-term repurposing and direction for Servus Place.”

The $43-million facility opened in 2006 and ran up a $2.3 million operational deficit in its first year, which shrank to approximately $600,000 for 2011.

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