The City of Campbell River will ask the community next year what they’d like to see done with the Sportsplex, as it is in dire need of significant repairs. Mirror File Photo

Future of Campbell River Sportsplex will go to public consultation

‘We have buckets on the floor to catch the leaks in the roof. That’s unpalatable to me’

Do you want a patched-up Sportsplex, a renovated and expanded one, or a brand new one?

That’s the question that will be put before residents at some point in 2020 after the discussions held at this week’s City of Campbell financial planning deliberations.

During the discussions surrounding the 10-year capital projects plan, the $3.8 million that was scheduled for 2021 beside “Sportsplex Rehabilitation and Expansion Project” came up and became quite a point of contention around council chambers.

Council has been trying to get a handle on what to do with the Sportsplex for a number of years, as the facility is, “falling down around our public,” according to Coun. Michele Babchuk.

The $3.8 million in the budget for 2021 was to do a “major mid-life rehabilitation of the Sportsplex,” including roof replacement, HVAC systems, windows and repair large sections of the building envelope, as well as add a 1,100 sq/ft addition for gym storage, but some on council thought it best to ask the community what it wants before going ahead with that plan. It would be a large expense, after all, and it would still, in essence, just be patching up the problems present in the 27-year-old building. It might be better to do either a more major renovation or rebuild the facility altogether.

The problem with going to public consultation, council was told, is that if they wait until after a public consultation to perform the repairs, the earliest they could be done would be 2022, meaning another two years of degradation of the facility. They could move the repairs up in the timeline to begin them next year and look for community input concurrent to the work being done, but then they may end up having wasted money fixing up sections of a building that are just going to be torn down soon after should the community say they want an expanded or new facility.

“We have buckets on the floor to catch the leaks in the roof. That’s unpalatable to me,” Babchuk said, but added she does feel the public should have a say on the future of the facility, whether that’s just patching the holes, renovating and expanding it or building a whole new facility.

The renovation and expansion option would cost approximately $8.5 million, according to Ron Bowles, the city’s general manager of community development, while a ballpark estimate on a new facility “that would meet current needs and future needs of the community would be more like $25 million.”

“This is the most well-used facility that we’ve got,” says Coun. Charlie Cornfield, leaning towards the “build a new facility” option. “It’s been bursting at the seams for years. If we expand, would that give us another 25 years of capacity at that facility? I feel like we’re going to have ourselves another really old facility in very short order, and that doesn’t fulfill the needs of the community.”

Cornfield also conceded, however, that “a brand new facility at $25 million means we have to start weighing that alongside fire halls and other facilities and it becomes questionable about whether that’s acceptable.”

“If we just go ahead and do the roof repairs, that won’t be money well spent if we’re going to do the expansion two or three years later,” Coun. Claire Moglove agreed, saying they should leave it up to the public to decide.

So, in the end, it was decided to put off the project until a public consultation can happen in 2020, which means the earliest any work could begin would likely be late in 2021 or early 2022.



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

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