White City, Sask., is rapidly growing, with the town planning to reach 25,000 people within the next 20 years. To keep up with the projected growth, council plans to open the doors to a new recreation hub.
“The need for recreation facilities in the community for our young people is a huge priority,” said White City Mayor Bruce Evans. “At the other end of the age spectrum, we have an active seniors community.”
White City town council approved the next phase of a multi-use recreation facility.
The current plan includes two indoor hockey rinks, two gymnasiums, a full-size field house and running track, an aquatic centre, library and daycare.
“Our rink is at capacity and we certainly need additional ice time,” Evans said. “The need for an indoor soccer facility, we’ve identified that as priority, a gymnasium space, our library is bursting at the seams.”
The rink is at more than 90 per cent capacity and ice rentals have never been higher, according to Bill Krzysik, Communiskate president.
While Communiskate is not involved in White City’s attempt at building a new recreation facility, Krzysik said finding ways to grow rink availability is a priority for Communiskate’s board.
In a statement, Krzysik said “This committee’s vision is to promote capital projects, support maintenance efforts and seek continual improvements for our facilities, our people and our organization. This committee looks forward to uncovering continued opportunities to work on new revenue channels and options to work and grow with community partners.”
Evans said the White City’s facility will be built in phases, most likely starting with the hockey rinks.
“One of our goals is that we can produce facilities that will be self-funding on an operating basis through fees,” Evans said.
By operating on fees, the town wouldn’t require a “large on-going subsidy from the tax base to pay for the operation of the facility,” according to Evans.
According to White City town council, the facility will eventually be attached to a new high school.
“We’re big proponents of getting maximum utilization of buildings and facilities that are paid for by taxpayers,” Evans said, adding the facility’s total price tag would be more than $100 million.
According to Prairie Valley School Division (PVSD), a new high school in the area has been its top priority for the last six years.
In a statement to Global News, PVSD said, “A new school in the area would meet the growing needs of our students and the surrounding communities, as enrollments continue to grow in that area.”
“Approval for a new capital project for a school in White City/Emerald Park would come from the Ministry of Education, and while it is a priority for us, we know at this time the school in this area is not on the list of the ministry’s top 10 priorities for the province,” according to the statement.
While a new school isn’t a priority for the province right now, White City’s push for a joint-use school could help with the proposal.
“As a division, we welcome any meaningful partnership with community organizations that will help us benefit our students and communities,” PVSD said.
The facility is still in the conceptual planning stages.
Evans said town council will focus on fundraising campaigns in the new year, possibly reaching out to different levels of government and corporate sponsors to help with the cost.