June 13, 2019 8:00 am

Edmonton pool closure prompts councillor to ask tower developers to consider P3 rec space

People riding tubes get splashed and overturned by waves in the World Waterpark's wave pool in West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta on Thursday, August 9, 2007. (CP PHOTO - Jordan Verlage)

Jordan Verlage, The Canadian Press
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Councillor Scott McKeen sees the pipe leaks at Oliver pool that forced its closure as something that could prompt consultation on new facilities to be accelerated.

The Ward 6 councillor would like to see developers of the new residential towers popping up in Edmonton’s downtown consider having a mini-rec centre included as part of one of their projects.

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“I would love to hear from a developer who might say, ‘We want to be a partner in this. The podium in our tower might be the right place for recreation and cultural and community halls.’

“I haven’t heard that yet but maybe someone will come along and we could look at some sort of a P3 (public-private partnership) to do a rec centre.”

READ MORE: Edmonton’s Oliver Outdoor Pool won’t open this summer because of leaks: city

In last December’s budget, city council agreed to fund consultation on new facilities for Oliver and downtown.

“We’re already underway,” McKeen said. “We don’t move at lightning speed in government but there’s a lot of work to do to (for the) Oliver community and the neighboring communities to weigh in about what their needs are.”

He thinks it will take a year to give everyone a chance to have their say.

“With 20,000 people, you maybe don’t look at just one site. So what could be looked at at some of the other sites? Maybe you spread things around a little bit.”

READ MORE: $75M small rec centre proposed as replacement for Scona Pool

McKeen said the growing seniors population is also playing a role.

“Strangely, to me, I hear in Oliver that they’d like a library. We’re not that far away from Oliver down to the new Milner library, so what is it they’re really asking for there? There’s a big seniors population in Oliver, maybe they just want a small branch and have some access to other services that are library related. So it’s interesting.”

McKeen said what’s crucial is having a rec facility, or two or three small ones, as something you can walk to in five or 10 minutes.

“We want people to move in. We want them to live there and we want to have a more compact city. Part of that bargain has to be, I think, that you’re going to have all the amenities you need within a walking distance.”

Oliver pool will have to be closed for the bulk of the summer because of the repair work. McKeen said the hope is to have it opened by August.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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