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New Multi-Plex Centers Better Than Maintaining Old Ones—Alberta City Report

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A close-to-completion report on the best way to tackle the problem of aging rec centers across Medicine Hat leans heavily toward creating new facilities and combining existing ones.

A final draft will propose three options for the council to look at this month. They will then vote to approve before the incoming board takes up the issue next year.

“We looked at a high level at how to serve the community’s needs for the next five decades,” stated the managing director of public services, Brian Mastel.

“It could be called bold and aspirational, but it’s the right time for the community to consider it.”

The report also suggests a new approach for a regional tourist attraction at Echo Dale Regional Park, including an amphitheater and luxurious “glamping” and serviced campsite and pursuing partnerships with private or community sectors for city-owned facilities.

The committee members listened to the presentation given by park director James Will for about an hour. This is the most recent in a series of reports since the public consultations started in July.

Will stated that some of the feedback was not as positive. Such people wanted to maintain community facilities but typically consider them parks rather than rinks or pools that the city currently thinks of as “destination” points.

An analysis of financials—that has been omitted from public consultation—reveals that existing rec facilities will need the equivalent of $42 million to maintain and operate in fifty years, with an additional as much as $10 million in the coming five to seven years.

A cost estimate is not provided for building a multi-plex facility and fitness facilities, new pools, or locations that could be considered.

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