The prospect of a new outdoor water park is making a splash in the city’s proposed 2019 budget.
‘We have pools that are extended well beyond their life cycle,” city manager Chris Holden said. “This starts a conversation in the community about building a destination facility in Wascana Park to replace the existing Wascana pool.”
The city currently has five pools, but structural issues are starting to set in at some ageing facilities.
Maple Leaf Pool will be closed next summer, while Regent and Massey have about 10 years left in their life cycles.
“When people think of infrastructure they think, generally, of roads and pipes in the ground – which is what it is – but it’s also infrastructure for recreation as well, and that’s huge for quality of life,” Mayor Michael Fougere noted. “I think this is a huge priority for us.”
The funding used to run Maple Leaf pool will now go towards other recreation programs in the Heritage neighbourhood.
Additional transit could also be put in place to service the new facility.
The city also sees an opportunity to take some of the load off the Lawson Aquatic Centre.
“The Lawson Aquatic Centre is the one pool in Regina that has deep water that supports diving, water polo and synchronized swimming,” Holden said. “They’ve expressed a need, when our facilities close down for maintenance in the summer, that they have an opportunity to move outside. There’s an opportunity to come up with a balance of leisure needs – lap swimming for people that want to be outside in the summer enjoying the sunshine, and some of the competitive opportunities that would take some pressure off the Lawson.”
Administration has allocated $1.5 million for the design of the new facility. If approved, public consultation will begin in the new year.
“This allows us to look at a design that may incorporate water slides, zero depth entry, and play amenities that will allow young children and families to have a much more meaningful experience,” Holden added.
Another $15 million would be financed through debt over the following two years to cover construction.
Holden hopes to see the new water park open at some point in 2021.
City council will start budget meetings on December 10.