Renovation updates to go online

The Strathcona Regional District has launched a new website dedicated to keeping residents informed and up-to-date on renovations planned for Strathcona Gardens.

The website, recreateSG.ca, contains project background information, concept plans and ways to get involved in helping to shape the future of the recreation complex.

An overhaul of Strathcona Gardens has been on the regional district’s radar for a few years now, originally prompted by a needs assessment study conducted in 2015 which found that the aging facility is unable to meet the needs of the community now and into the future.

“We’ve heard the facility is a very much-valued facility but it’s aging and more can be done for our residents,” Victoria Smith, the regional district’s special projects and sustainability manager, told the regional district board earlier this month. “We need to move from an arena and pool complex to a facility that serves a multi-purpose role in the community.”

To that end, the regional district hired consultant GDH Solutions which has come up with two different concepts for revitalizing Strathcona Gardens.

The first includes the addition of a wellness centre with a therapy pool roughly the size of the existing hot tub at the recreation complex. New multi-purpose rooms, renovated change rooms, expanded seating at Rod Brind’Amour Arena, as well as relocation of the concession to a more central area, also form the basis of option one.

The second concept involves a new fitness/exercise room, and a new administration area that would require the building to be expanded out towards Pinecrest Road.

Smith said that preliminary estimates have the project at $21.8 million and the regional district will be pursuing matching grant opportunities with both the federal and provincial governments.

The project is currently in the feasibility stage, meaning studies need to be done to test the concepts and determine whether they can actually be done.

Campbell River Director Michele Babchuk, who is also the chair of the Strathcona Gardens Commission, stressed that the commission is not even close yet to a final concept.

“Right now this is a starting point, nothing is written in stone yet,” Babchuk said. “The facility will reflect the appetite of what the community wants it to become.”

And the website is all a part of that.

Visitors to the site can sign up to receive project updates and news and the public will be invited to drop-in, view project materials and speak with the project team and consultants at certain points of the project planning phase.

“Strathcona Gardens is one of the most well-utilized public assets in the area,” said Babchuk in a release. “Many people will want to know what is going on and have input on the future of this facility and we want to hear from them. Feedback from Area D and Campbell River residents, facility users and the broader public is essential to moving this project forward in a way that ensures we are making decisions that best meet the needs of the community. RecreateSG.ca is one more step toward our commitment to keeping people informed and engaged.”

In the meantime, the regional district has a project timeline of mid-July to December, 2017 for completion of a schematic design, with construction targeted for 2020, dependent on findings.