Design phase moving forward for potential Innisfail aquatic and recreation center

As a result, administration recommended the use of the IPD process that requires contractors, architects and the Town to plan together through the entire process from the beginning. As IPD is more costly, administration also requested an additional $300,000 for the schematic design phase, for a total budget of $600,000.

The additional $300,000 was suggested to be taken from the facility reserve, which would leave a balance of $735,961 by the end of the year. Each year, $450,900 is placed into the reserve.

With IPD, the expected completion date for the design is spring 2023, compared to fall 2022 using the DBB approach.

Councilor Gavin Bates expressed concern over spending $600,000 before other financial details are confirmed such as grant availability or a fixed budget for the whole project, rather than an estimate of $20-25 million.

“You might be investing $300-600 thousand dollars on something that never happens. So you have to be prepared for that,” said Councilor Bates.

Administration stated in order to apply for grants, detailed plans must be provided to government.

Mayor Barclay, in the meantime, was supported in her motion to change the naming of the facility, adding “recreation center”, with a focus on the aquatic center, to accurately portray the Town’s vision and secure proper governmental funding.

Council also discussed various financing options for the final center.

Administration recommended putting the project on hold until 50 per cent of the funding is secured through provincial and federal grants, monies from Red Deer County, or sponsorship opportunities. They also suggested gradually increasing taxes and using the yearly $450,900 placed in the facility reserve to be fully allocated towards the project.

“The feedback from what I’ve heard from the community when we were all campaigning to be on this council was this is a high priority for a lot of people. I’ve heard from a lot of people that they’d be willing to go with the tax increase but what that tax increase is, obviously is dependent on where we go,” said Councillor Dale Dunham.

With a budget goal of $20 million to be paid over 20 years, an estimated $1,439,249, interest included, would need to be paid yearly if no grants are available. If utilizing the yearly facility reserve funds, a tax increase of 13.15 per cent would need to be passed onto residents. Without using the facility reserve, a 19.19 per cent tax would be needed.

Using the same goal, if $10 million is secured externally, a yearly payment of $719,624 would result. If utilizing the yearly facility reserve funds, a 3.58 per cent tax increase would be carried over to citizens. Without the facility reserve funds, it would be a 9.59 per cent tax increase.

Still early, the financial discussion was based on estimates, subject to change over time.

“The municipality has a history of being financially responsible and we’ll make sure that we continue to do that,” said Mayor Barclay.

A Request for Proposal will be sent out by the Town in the upcoming weeks.

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