Delayed review of Strathcona Gardens relaunched

An independent assessment will review and evaluate the programs, services and facilities at Strathcona Gardens

The Strathcona Regional District will review a possible expansion of Strathcona Gardens after the process was held up for nearly half a year.

An independent assessment will review and evaluate the programs, services and facilities at Strathcona Gardens. It’s expected to be complete by May.

Andy Adams, who chairs the Strathcona Gardens Commission, said the review will give the regional district some insight into what people want.

“The goals and needs of our communities have evolved, so it is time to develop a recreation plan for Strathcona Gardens that will see us through the next five, 10 and 20 years,” Adams said in a news release.

The regional district has approved $75,000 for the assessment and has hired GDH Consulting Services to carry out the study.

The assessment will identify any improvements needed at Strathcona Gardens which could include a possible expansion of Rod Brind’Amour Arena and the addition of a wellness centre.

This facility needs assessment was prompted by findings that came out of a 2004 evaluation of the arena.

That evaluation suggested ways to increase the capacity of Rod Brind’Amour Arena – two of which involve renovating the existing arena and one which recommends building a new arena at Strathcona Gardens.

That study also included conceptual drawings for a wellness centre to be built beside the swimming pool.

Regional district staff suggested a more in-depth study be done on the recreation facility before taking any action and issued a call for proposals to undertake the needs assessment.

The call was put out to businesses last spring but by early July the regional district was forced to call off the project after a poor response to the Request for Proposals (RFP).

Russ Hotsenpiller, chief administrative officer of the regional district, said just one proponent showed up for a mandatory site visit.

“This is an important project for Strathcona Gardens and this is an unacceptable result for the delivery of a competitive process,” Hotsenpiller said.

A new RFP was issued in October and five proposals were received and a rigorous evaluation process was carried out, according to Hotsenpiller.

The Strathcona Gardens Commission voted to hire GDH Consulting Services at a meeting on Jan. 22.

As the assessment gets underway, the public will be called upon to provide input.

“I invite community members to take part in the opportunities to give their input and share ideas as we set the future direction of Strathcona Gardens,” Adams said.

Campbell River and Area D residents will have their first chance to get involved through a survey being sent to 2,300 randomly selected households.

Residents will have the option of completing the survey online, www.strathconard.ca/recsurvey or by mail or telephone.

Further opportunities will take place this month and in March and include workshops and other specific interest groups.

Anyone who would like to participate in a community workshop or focus group can contact Sheila Van Nus at svannus@strathconard.ca

Letters or emails outlining interests or suggestions for Strathcona Gardens will also be accepted until March 15.

For more information on the study, visit www.strathconard.ca/recneeds