Everybody into the pool

Summerland's existing community pool

With all the bells and whistles included, building a new community health and wellness centre in Summerland is expected to cost $60 million, council heard Monday.

Elected officials were presented with a draft needs assessment for the facility that was based on extensive public engagement efforts conducted by consultants and district staff over the past several months.

Originally conceived as a replacement for the failing Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre, the project scope has expanded over time to potentially include a new high school gym, medical centre, tennis courts and daycare.

Coun. Doug Holmes expressed reservations about putting everything together in one place.

“I worry about us creating this, what could end up being an enormous, soulless building in our downtown area, which just ends up sucking the life out of the rest of downtown because that’s our community hub and that’s where everybody goes,” said Holmes.

“I’m supportive of the idea, but I’m just not convinced (the services) all need to be together.”

In reply, Coun. Richard Barkwill argued some people – particularly those with mobility issues – would appreciate having everything under one roof.

“Hopefully we get some architecture to the building and green space that adds to the downtown,” said Barkwill.

“If we can get the financing figured out, the rest will follow out of that.”

To date, just $10 million has been committed to the project by School District 67 for its replacement of the Summerland Secondary School gym.

The District of Summerland is covering the $80,000 cost of the preliminary work.

The other partners are Interior Health and South Okanagan Similkameen Division of Family Practice.

Of the overall cost estimate, $30 million is attached to the original vision of a new pool and fitness centre.

The proposed replacement facility includes a 25-metre, six-lane lap pool, leisure pool, 20-person hot tub, change rooms, two multi-purpose rooms and office space over a total of 32,800 square feet – about twice the size of the existing facility.

The dollars really start to add up once the extras are considered. They include:

– A three-court tennis centre with change rooms, totalling approximately 26,700 square feet. Estimated cost: $8.7 million.

– Two additional lanes in the lap pool and more deck space, which would improve the facility’s ability to host competitions. Estimated cost: $2.8 million.

– A 9,500-square foot gymnasium with space for two to three volleyball courts or four to six pickleball and badminton courts, plus change rooms and storage space. Estimated cost: $5.5 million.

– Primary care health centre with 10 small offices, 24 exam rooms and more over 12,500 square feet. Estimated cost: $8 million.

– A 37-spot daycare with outdoor play area, covering 7,900 square feet. Estimated cost: $4.6 million.

A finalized needs assessment is expected to be presented to council in the new year, after which more detailed design work would begin.