A budget debate for city council this fall will be whether the city will go back to its community roots, reversing a trend for mega-suburban rec centres, and opting for something much smaller.
Edmonton’s community services committee heard from the public on Wednesday on a business case for development of a leisure centre for Rollie Miles Park, adjacent to Strathcona High School.
There is local demand for it however, the report the committee worked from points to other nearby amenities, “within a five kilometre catchment of the Queen Alexandra neighbourhood, where the Rollie Miles Athletic Field District Park is located.”
A new pool to replace the aging tank at Scona High is going to be needed, said Councillor Ben Henderson.
“It could be tomorrow, it could be 10 years. We just know it can’t be fixed.”
Henderson said the community is growing, and becoming more dense, so demand for facilities will increase.
“This is a neighbourhood where we’re putting a lot of new people into. It’s exactly the kind of place where people are making the choice to live in a different kind of way, in a walkable community,” he said.
“To use a certain kind of suburban standard around whether or not we need a rec centre there doesn’t make sense in a community like that.”
Resident Kirsten Goa doesn’t agree with the direction the report is going — that only the green space at the athletic field should see investment. She said money needs to be spent on amenities in mature neighbourhoods to keep people living there, so they don’t move out to the suburbs.
“I think it’s really shortsighted,” she said of not investing. “We need to change the way we’re growing as a city. There’s all these talks right now about our tax dollars, but if we don’t shift the way we grow, we’re never going to change the conversation.”
“To do density well, we need these amenities in our communities.”
A funding package for planning dollars for 2019-2022 will be before city council in November. A park renewal plan was funded when the previous city council set the 2015-2018 capital budget.