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‘We’re in the planning stages’: Riverview one step closer to wellness centre

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Riverview one step closer to having new wellness centre
WATCH: The Town of Riverview is moving closer to a new multi-use wellness centre. After early estimates pegged the cost of the project at $45 million, the town has been able to lower the price tag to an estimated $16 million. But as Callum Smith tells us a lot of details still need to be worked out – Jan 16, 2019

The Town of Riverview is moving closer to a new multi-use wellness centre.

A steering committee and chair have been named, whose responsibility will be to work in an advisory role with municipal officials.

The proposed facility will include an aquatics centre, a field house, walking track and community space.

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A price tag estimate for the project sits at $16 million, according to CAO Colin Smith.

“We’re in the planning stages of the project,” Smith says.

Colin Smith says the plan has always been to put the facility in the Mill Creek Nature Park area, but specifics still need to be determined. Callum Smith / Global News

Smith says the steering committee will start working to come up with a business case and work towards a community-led fundraising initiative.

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But because of the project’s status, it’s not clear yet how much money could come from the province or federal government.

“Our long-term plan right now is factoring in a small assumption that we get there,” says Smith.

“Depending on the infrastructure programs, we know that there’s potential to 25 to 50 per cent of funding for these projects. Whether ours aligns, we don’t know. The application process isn’t started, so those are all things we need to work through.”

However, Riverview residents and taxpayers — even those in favour of the project —  are concerned about development costs.

“I think it’s a great expansion for Riverview. Certainly, updating Riverview is what every citizen would like,” says Michele McLellan. “I’m a little concerned with the price tag. From watching Moncton and Dieppe and other communities, it’s never what they say it’s going to be.”

“It would be a great thing for Riverview,” says Susan King. “It’s a family community. We have a lot of strong anchor stores here. Yes, the money is going to dictate whether it gets done or not.”

Other residents say the project should go ahead either way.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” says Garda Clark.

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“It’s a great idea for the younger generation to get out to one space where they can do multiple things in exercise, swimming, walking, and it’s great for the seniors.”

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“I think it would do the community a lot of good from the young right up to the old,” says Bob Carruthers.

As for location, Smith says the plan has always been to put the facility in the Mill Creek Nature Park area, but specifics still need to be worked out based on a new road that will be part of development.

Construction of the proposed facility is expected to happen in 2022-2023.

Smith says things like a previously planned hockey rink could be explored for further phases of the project.

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“There may be other recreational assets that may be seen as an opportunity and may be aligned in the future.”

The first project estimate was for $45 million, but that was before the rink, which Smith says is the “biggest component,” was removed.

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