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Kelowna city council starts process to replace Parkinson Recreation Centre

Click to play video 'Kelowna city council starts process to replace Parkinson Recreation Centre' Kelowna city council starts process to replace Parkinson Recreation Centre
Kelowna city council starts process to replace Parkinson Recreation Centre – Dec 10, 2020

Wednesday was budget debate day at Kelowna City Hall, with council considering the city’s fiscal future for 2021.

In a council meeting that was closed to the public but broadcast on the internet, city staff asked council members to be more purposeful when it comes to the ‘end of service life’ with some of its buildings.

One public building that’s being looked at as nearing the end of its service life is the 47-year-old Parkinson Recreation Centre.

“I want a new Parkinson Recreation Centre building,” Kelowna city councillor Ryan Donn told Global News.

Council started that task on Wednesday by approving $100,000 in funding to approve borrowing money to build a new recreation centre.

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However, city council isn’t using a public referendum to get public approval; instead, it’s using the alternative approval process, which puts the onus on potential naysayers.

Naysayers generally need to gather signed letters of opposition from 10 per cent of the electorate to then force a public referendum.

For more about the alternative approval process, click here.

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City of Kelowna prepares to slash budget for 2020 amid COVID-19 pandemic – Mar 30, 2020

In Kelowna’s 10-year capital plan, city staff budgeted the centre’s replacement cost at $82.8 million.

Plans for the new facility include an eight-lane 25-metre pool, a leisure pool, three gymnasiums and a fitness facility.

As well, the new centre could be built as part of a partnership with School District 23.

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“We are looking at a potential partnership with the school district; they are looking at putting a new high school on the site,” said Robert Parlane, parks and buildings planning manager for the City of Kelowna.

“Those discussions are still ongoing.”

According to Parlane, if the new building is built in conjunction with the school district, it would have a substantial impact on the cost of replacing the facility.

Read more: Coronavirus: Outdoor skating rink at Stuart Park in Kelowna closed because of COVID

Donn said local citizens should be able to have their say before final budget approval sometime in May

“I think it needs to happen,” he said. “People talk to me about the theatre all the time, but first on the list is Parkinson.”