It’s getting close. During a recent tour of the new Manluk Centre led by Kevin Lucas, Director of Community Services for the City of Wetaskiwin, he declared, “the Manluk Centre is near substantial completion and on May 8th we get to start moving in with some construction still ongoing. There will be a soft opening to the public the week of June 16. This is still a bit of a moving target but this is what I'm aiming for. The Grand Opening is September 6 with a full day celebration at the Manluk Centre.”
But looking down into the empty pools and seeing workers undertaking the finishing touches, it’s difficult to envision what the new Aquatic Centre will look like once the 1,565,524 litres of water is heated, treated and filling the pools in the new facility (Aboussafy uses 709,800 litres of water ).
It has been a huge undertaking. The planning process began in 2008 when the City of Wetaskiwin contracted Cannon Design to evaluate the existing Aboussafy Aquatic Centre and its ability to meet the current and future needs of the community. The engineering reports showed, “the building will require extensive (and expensive) repairs to the roof and ventilation system. It was also determined that line repairs will result in costly removal of concrete flooring and lengthy pool closures. The report also outlined how a new facility would provide more diverse family oriented and inclusive services to ensure it meets the growing and diverse needs of its residents.”
In March of 2009 concerns about the aging Aboussafy Aquatic were unveiled during the presentation of the City budget. Planning began and in early March of 2010 a public meeting was held and concepts were presented to the public showing options for a new Multi-Purpose Recreation Facility.
The community was advised “The City of Wetaskiwin, in partnership with the County of Wetaskiwin, envisions providing improved recreation products and services to strengthen the experiences of residents and visitors and invigorate the community. Offering services in a unique, memorable way that leads to lasting transformation in the health, education, training and lifestyles of users will allow Wetaskiwin to build and maintain a competitive edge.”
When the motion to proceed with construction of the new aquatic centre was presented, Mayor Bill Elliot, Ald. Dale Crabtree, Ald. Patricia MacQuarrie, and Ald. Glenn Ruecker all voted in favour of the motion. Opposed were Ald. Mark McFaul and Ald. Barry Hawkes. Ald. Joe Branco was not in attendance.
On March 7th, 2012 dignitaries gathered at the east of the Aboussafy Aquatic Centre and participated in an official sod (snow) turning ceremony. Over the next 2 years, the construction progressed, costs increased and additional borrowing was required.
(1) As stated by the City of Wetaskiwin: “The City budgeted $2,750.000 to be contributed to the capital costs based on $3,000,000 in sponsorships and donations less $250,000 to cover campaign costs. The City will need funds to pay bills as they come due our borrowing Bylaw 1827-13 in the amount of $2,450,000.
The principal amount of the outstanding debt of the Municipality at December 31, 2012 is $ 29,780,883 and no part of the principal or interest is in arrears.”
(2) Council approved that the required fitness centre equipment for the Manluk Centre be purchased from Flaman Fitness at a cost of $155,106.
Although there has not been a public disclosure of the current projected capital costs and revenue and expenditures for the Manluk Centre, it is an expensive undertaking by the City of Wetaskiwin. It’s attractive. And it will require a great deal of community support to help make it a success.