Friday, January 31, 2014

Recreation in the Crowsnest Pass

Tuesday night Council and your Recreation committee met with RC strategies, a company out of Edmonton that is preparing a plan for our future recreational needs.  this study was commissioned by the previous council at a cost of $90,000. 

They began the process by mailing out surveys to all our residents and meeting with various user groups throughout the community. Tuesday night was all about telling us the results they found during that process.

The highlights:

Almost 3000 surveys were sent out and 86 community groups were given the opportunity to provide their input of which 23 did, they contacted 36 stakeholder groups of which 33 met with them.
Almost 600 surveys came back which the consultants told us is one of the higher rates of return they have seen.
Most respondents want to see the following (Top 5):

66% Aquatic Center
42% Fitness/Wellness
34% Walking/Running track
26% Community Hall/Banquet
23% Performing Arts Spaces


48% Walking/Hiking trail system
29% Ski Hill
26% Picnic areas
26% Dogs off leash area
25% Access to the river

Paying for more recreational needs (How much additional taxes would you pay per year?):

38% zero
32% up to $100
16% $101 to $150
8% $151 to $200
7% over $200

Obviously with a lot of interest the conversation turned to the issue of an Indoor multi use facility the consultants were asked the cost and the opportunity for fund raising and grants.

Minimum $20 million for a facility with a aquatic center, minimum $15 million for a facility without an aquatic center.

The consultants advised us there was a time when "some" of these facilities were funded on a one third basis each by the Federal, provincial and local level. They told us those days are long gone their advice having working on a lot of these types of facilities over the years that the best case scenario would be to raise 15% of the cost by a combination of fundraising and grants.

Cost of operating an indoor facility? they advised us a minimum of $750,000 per year. Dependent on how many programs we offered and the number of hours the facility would be open.

They told us that typically a community needs to have a population of 15,000 or more to successfully operate a facility of this type.

Based on the survey results only 31% of our population supported a tax increase of more than $100 if we did that it would bring in an additional $300,000 per year not even half of the operating cost of this type of facility. (Keep in mind we would save $150,000 a year by not running the out door pool).

The payments on a $20 million facility (assuming we were successful in fund raising and grants to the tune of the 15%) $17 million over 20 years at 3% $1,130,000 a year.

We will be receiving the full report prior to summer, that will provide us with a lot of statistical information and hopefully address some of the concerns with our present facilities.


Anonymous said...

From this blog 3 years ago:

"Anonymous said...
It will cost $20 million to build an Indoor facility in the Pass.
By the time you getting planning/fundraising in place you are looking at the earliest 2015 start date.
Local business paying to take kids out of town. Dream On"

"Crowsnest Pass Home said...
The Wave in Whitefish looks really good.

Construction started in 2003 cost of $7.2 million.
Any idea what that would be in todays dollars?."

I think the survey should have told us how much each visit to the various facilities would cost and asked users what % they would be willing to pay per visit.

Anonymous said...

Dean, I know you like to keep us up to date with numbers. What kinds of expenses have our new council members racked up since taking office?

Anonymous said...

Realistically I think most of us would pay a little extra to enhance our recreation facilities. These big dreams will only happen if and when we get some kind of industrial tax base.


Anonymous said...

Bottom line $90,000 will give us another stack of paper to sit on a shelf, collect dust and little else.

Anonymous said...

Couple of things that stand out to me are as follows:

"Minimum $20 million for a facility with a aquatic center, minimum $15 million for a facility without an aquatic center."
This seems unbelievably high to me. If we build a simple indoor swimming pool(all we really need) and nothing else about the same size as what we have now I think that 20 million number will drop by 50 to 75%. I hope someone could look into this and find out for sure what a basic indoor pool would cost. I know you can not compare this to a house being built but if I did for 10 million you could build 50,000sq.ft house completely finished on the main floor with a full concrete basement. So why is a pool so much more expensive?
The second thing for me is that 68% of the people are willing to pay more in taxes. So you have a strong majority that are giving you the green light.
Lastly, how many families choose to live in nearby communities over us because of the rec centres they have?
I think we have to find a way to get this done and start moving forward with this community. I wonder if Tech would be interested in helping out?

Anonymous said...

What is in store for the Albert Stella arena and what is it cuurently costing the Municipality to operate? If memory serves, none of the present council would vote to close it when asked this question at the candidates forum, so surely they have plans for it, other than the few hours a week it is being used by the public right now.

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

For now all I am attempting to do is provide my readers with the information that we received. The final report will not be here until close to summer.
Hopefully we will see by then the justification for the expenditure of the $90,000.
The numbers we received from the consultants are from their experiences with other communities. I will email them this week and ask for more examples but two we did get were Grande Cache with an aquatic centre $23 million and Blackfalds without an aquatic centre $15 million.
As far as where we go with other facilities that will be determined during the budget process.

Anonymous said...

Why not ask our own rec board to get a cost estimate for a very basic indoor pool.
3 walls and a roof even on our existing pool may even be doible.I know that facility is way past repair. Or if you build the walls and roof and an extra million or 2 to get it up to date does seem somewhat feasible.
I am hoping you and the rest of council will do a little thinking on your own instead of relying on a consultants report. Was this not one of your big complaints from the previous council.

Anonymous said...

The consultants were contracted by the previous council to the tune of $90 000.00 to tell us what we already know: until our tax base allows us, we can't afford an indoor aquatic centre. We could have used that $90K to patch our Swiming Pool. The poll does not say majority of the residents support higher taxes to get a pool. This is not a scientific poll. ask the consultants and they will tell you.

Anonymous said...

Dean, you like keeping us informed with numbers. How much of the new entrance signs were paid for through grants. I realize this was before you being in office, but I'm sure it wouldn't be hard for you to dig up that information. Oh, and have you any answers for Feb.1 10:03?

Crowsnest Pass Home said...


Answer for 10:03 the financial audit will be presented to us soon which will show all councilor expenses up to Dec 31st.
In my previous terms on council, councilors made between $12-18,000 a year, I fully expect that those numbers would be in line with this year.
Hope that answers your question.

Anonymous said...

The poll may not be as scientific as you would like but it does say that a strong majority are willing to pay more in taxes toward an indoor pool.
An extra 240/year or 20/month really is not going to effect the average taxpayers life.
I say set a budget of no more than 10 million for a basic indoor pool and lets get this thing built and move forward in the CNP.
The Tech centre has a really nice ring to it.

Anonymous said...

3000 surveys were sent out, 600 came back. Where does this inform us what the majoriy wants? You can hire a consultant to justify anything you want to do. Consultant says Peace Officers will pay for themselves, hell, let's get two.

Kim said...

Please don't just cover the existing pool. A patch of 400-500 thousand dollars would give the pool the work that it requires immediately but won't even begin to cover the costs associated with an updated mechanical system.

Immediate Work
Liners are badly stained and tearing from the concrete walls. The Cost for Removal / Concrete Work and spray replacement Estimate $300 000.

Change room floors have become very slippery, dirty looking and difficult to clean. Layers of paint are chipping off both the floors and walls in the building.

The Concrete deck is badly cracked and chipping. Standing water on the deck breeds algae and bacteria and against health regulation. Many sections should be cut out and repaired. heck the whole Deck is unattractive.

That's a lot of tax dollars to put into an old shell of a pool. I don't personally think its feasible for an indoor pool. Expenses would run say what 650 000. To recover these costs other pools charge school groups. We currently do not.

As a taxpayer I would support building a NEW outdoor pool and an indoor facility to house Albert Stella and MDM recreation activities.

Anonymous said...

That's how a poll works. That's why they usually say something along the lines of being accurate within 5% either way, 19 out of 20 times.
2 out of 3 people who took the time to fill out the questionnaire are willing to pay more in taxes for a rec centre. I am sure you are not one of them. But you do not need to worry, this council will not even think about building a rec centre.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kim on some of her points. Do not spend money on fixing up that old pool unless you are going to put a roof on it and get everything else up to code. I strongly disagree with Kim that we should have a new OUTDOOR pool. Why spend big bucks on something you can only use for 4 months of the year and every time the thunder rolls the pool is shut down or too cold.
I also am having some difficulty understanding why it is so expensive to run an indoor pool. The report had it at 750,000 and Kim has it at 650,000. So that works out to between 1780/day and 2054/day. I would think that a new efficient facility that was only open for about 8 hours per day would not cost that much to run. So maybe someone can explain why it costs so much? It just seems all to easy to accept these numbers without any justification.

Kim said...

There would be Revenue to offset those costs for an indoor pool. Bonnyville pool has their operating budget on line. That's where I got the number.

You'd have to look more closely at the costs. Currently we use the cheapest form of disinfection - gas chlorine.... Most dangerous but suited for outdoor pool use.
Some pools use solar heat.

Anonymous said...

I found your statement below to be true but deceptive in nature. A more accurate statement would have been to say that 63% of those who responded were prepared to pay $100 or more to see a facility. A very different picture than your 31%.
"Based on the survey results only 31% of our population supported a tax increase of more than $100" Totally misleading tell the whole story. Cheers

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the budgets for Elkford, Sparwood, or Pincher Creek all between $750,000 and $1 million a year available on their web sites.

Anonymous said...

How much to just run an indoor facility with no indoor pool?

Anonymous said...

Are the budgets for the 4 towns mentioned for the pool area only or is it for the whole facility?
Either the numbers work or they do not.
If we were to build only an indoor pool, the same size as what we have today, how much would it cost to build and how much to operate?
If the numbers came in at 10 million to build and 500,000/year to operate would we proceed?
These questions should be asked to the rec board to do the research and see what can be done if anything(actual research, talk to contractors, talk to other communities running similar facilities etc..). But if you start talking about a multi purpose rec centre I know we can not afford this. As much as I would like to have a fancy new building and wave pools and all of the extras, I know we can not afford this. So keep it simple and see where the costs go.
With or with out an indoor pool the CNP is a great place to live.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought but I would think Public transit would go well to access any new facility.

Anonymous said...

4:11 wrote:
"How much of the new entrance signs were paid for through grants."
I'm pretty sure it was 100% MSI grants.

We get a fixed quota of MSI grants based on population. It's our money, same as tax dollars. We could have spent it on something useful instead.

Anonymous said...

The grants could have been spent on many different things, equipment, facilities etc.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see an indoor pool & exercise center. A center like that will pay for itself for sure. Kids can go swimming all year, swim lesson etc. Look to other small communities and see the good that comes out of these things. It will be enjoyed by all. Yes it is going to cost, it is not going to get cheaper as time goes on that is for sure.