Keeping recreation centres up to snuff in Kelowna could prove costly | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Keeping recreation centres up to snuff in Kelowna could prove costly

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February 04, 2019 - 3:30 PM

KELOWNA - If the Kelowna Family YMCA pool in Rutland is any example, the City of Kelowna is facing a bigger structural deficit than the $478 million in its current plan.

The City’s 10 Year Capital Plan calls for more than $1 billion to be spent in the next decade to renew and renovate existing roads, buildings and parks as well as building new facilities to meet the needs of a growing population. But the funding it has available for that work falls $478 million short of what’s needed.

The work that needs to be done is regularly reviewed and updated and the pool at the YMCA in Rutland is an example of some potential big costs that could hit taxpayers hard.

“The Family Y facility is in really good shape but the one piece of infrastructure in that building, the natatorium (pool and mechanical system) will be the next project that needs to be dealt with,” city staff told council during budget discussions in December. “That will be a significant project. We are working with the Family Y on what the project will be in terms of dollars and how we’re going to fund it.”

YMCA of Okanagan operates the facility with a $710,000 annual grant from the city. There’s no indication, at this time, when that work needs to be done or how much it will cost. Council was also told, unlike newer facilities, there’s no money being set aside in a reserve fund to pay to upgrade or replace the pool. The Rutland pool opened in 1980 and the building was expanded in 2001 and 2011.

Council agreed to spend $220,000 this year to upgrade the elevator and do some mechanical repairs and equipment replacement. Only $25,000 was funded from reserves. The rest was part of the 4.4 per cent tax increase projected for this year.

“So, this would be a flag for us because that’s a very significant facility,” Coun. Luke Stack said at the time. “For most of our other facilities we are building some reserves as we’re going. What it means is any upgrades to this building are going to be coming out of taxation.”

For now, city staff don’t expect any major improvements will be needed before 2030 because no money is in their 10-year plan for the Rutland pool. But that could change, based on the current discussions with the YMCA.

By contrast Parkinson Recreation Centre, which is only six years older than the Rutland pool, is scheduled to be replaced in 2021-22 for $58 million. All that money is expected to be borrowed as there are no other funds set aside. There are also discussions underway with the school district to combine a new recreation centre with a new high school.

The only other major new recreation facility planned in the next 10 years is an upgrade to the Capital News Centre with two more ice sheets and an indoor field planned for 2022 at a cost of $21 million. For both those projects, money is designated for 2021 to start doing detailed design and cost estimates. For Parkinson Recreation Centre there is $4.6 million with $2.1 million for the Capital News Center.

It will be up to council to decide next year whether to spend that money.

In all the City has estimated it needs $248 million to upgrade, maintain or replace buildings but only $148 million has been identified for that work leaving a shortfall of $100 million. While most of that is for Parkinson Recreation Centre, the total cost could increase if unexpected work needs to be done on the Rutland pool or roughly 220 other buildings the City looks after.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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