Funding to replace the aging Sir Max Aitken Pool in Fredericton is up in the air after the province of New Brunswick expressed sticker shock at the predicted cost.
The project has an estimated cost of $32 million.
“Sounds like a lot of money,” said New Brunswick Minister of Environment and Local Government Jeff Carr.
The City of Fredericton wants to replace the aging facility at the University of New Brunswick with a new aquatics facility that would serve the entire region.
The pool is slated to shut down in 2021, and UNB says this will create a large void in the region’s aquatics offerings.
“We’ve been providing aquatics facilities for citizens of Fredericton for almost 100 years,” said George MacLean, UNB’s vice-president of academics.
“The plans for this pool will enable people in the city to be able to continue in their competitive swimming activities as well as other forms of swimming activities.”
The city and UNB would like to see the province get involved with planning — and funding — the project.
“I look forward to being a part of that discussion along with the minister of (regional development corporation) and the premier if possible,” said Carr.
The city will be contributing $3 million, while UNB is donating $3 million worth of land for the new facility, which will feature a 25-metre pool.
But the province says the facility’s $23-million cost is too steep during a time of budget cuts to fund new infrastructure.
“We’ve got to watch our balanced budgets and decide on what our priorities are here in the city, in the capital region,” Carr said.
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The city is asking for $6 million from neighbouring communities and is also hoping the federal government will chip in.
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