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Pool, school, and more for proposed Cherot lands

City tables concepts for community amenities site
"THE QUAD" — The City of St. Albert launched an online survey Feb. 8 asking residents to pick one of five layouts for the Community Amenities Site in the Cherot neighbourhood. Shown here was the "Quad" layout, which was priced at $78 million. CITY OF ST. ALBERT/Illustration

A pool, a high school, and a bike skills park might all find a home in northwest St. Albert under proposed plans for the Cherot neighbourhood — plans which could cost taxpayers up to $118 million.

The City of St. Albert launched a survey Feb. 8 to ask residents to pick a plan for the Community Amenities Site in the Cherot neighbourhood, which was south of Villeneuve Road and west of Ray Gibbon Drive.

The city has been working on plans for a new recreation site since about 2018, said City of St. Albert interim manager of recreation facility development and partnerships Manda Wilde. In 2019, Rohit Communities agreed to give the city about 59 acres of land in the Cherot neighbourhood to use as that site.

Administration has prepared five plans for what should go on this site based on the 2022 Recreation Amenity Needs Assessment, Wilde said. This survey was meant to give people a chance to say which plan or combination of plans the city should pursue when developing this area.

Five plans

Wilde said the plans proposed different combinations and layouts of facilities, including outdoor classrooms, tennis courts, skate parks, spray parks, and skating rinks. These facilities would take up about 25 acres, with the rest dedicated to greenspace. Each plan featured trails, roads, parking, greenspace, outdoor sports fields, and an aquatics centre.

“People are really passionate about swimming,” Wilde said of the aquatics centre, and indoor aquatics were the top priority identified by the recreation needs assessment.

Wilde said the aquatics centre would be indoors and feature a 25 meter competition pool and some kind of leisure pool. Depending on the plan, this facility could be paired with a splash park, indoor ice sheets, or an indoor gym/fitness centre.

St. Albert Sailfish head coach Glenn Wilson said St. Albert has needed a second competition-style pool for swim meets and lifeguard training for about 12 years. Right now, local competitive swimmers had to share space with Edmonton teams at Fountain Park Pool, which was itself closed right now for repairs. The Sailfish had about 50 people on their waiting list because there wasn’t enough space to train them in St. Albert.

“With a new facility, our swim team could fully develop,” Wilson said, and the city could host major swimming competitions.

Four of the five plans included a 4,200 square-meter high school.

St. Albert does not have an open high school site and would need one at some point, Wilde said. A school on this site would fit in with the site’s other sports facilities and draw students from nearby growing neighbourhoods.

In an email, St. Albert Public Schools spokesperson Paula Power said that while the board hoped to learn more about this proposed high school site, their preference was to have a high school built in Erin Ridge North. (Landrex has proposed to offer land for such a site.)

“We desperately need a third high school, and the province does not grant new school projects unless there is a designated site that is serviced and ready.”

Wilson, who teaches phys-ed at Leo Nickerson, said he saw no downsides to putting a high school on this site, adding that such a site would be a great place to host an Alberta Summer Games or Kids of Steel Triathlon.

Four of the five concepts featured a bike skills park — something the city has been trying to build since the early 2010s. Wilson said such a park would be a phenomenal addition to the other proposed facilities on this site.

Big cost

Wilde said the baseline school-and-pool layout would cost up to $50 million and require a 3.5 per cent tax hike (about $140/year/home) to build without the help of federal or provincial grants. The most expensive layout (the recreation campus, which had a pool, indoor ice rink, and an artificial turf facility) would cost up to $118 million and necessitate a 7.3 per cent ($280/year/home) tax increase.

Wilde said administration would compile the survey’s results into a plan to present to council by June, after which they would determine its detailed design and operating costs. Actual construction was years away.

Administration would host an open house on the plans at Servus Place Feb. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m., Wilde said. Staff would also be available to talk about the plans at Servus Place from 1 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 19, at Lacombe Lake Park from noon till 4 p.m. on Feb. 20, and in the St. Albert Place lobby from 3 to 6 p.m.

The online survey closes March. 5. Visit for details.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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