Health and wellness campus in Prince Albert to be 'the envy of every city in Canada'
SASKATOON -- There will be no tax increase to fund phase one of a new aquatic and arena recreation centre and outdoor fitness park, says Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne.
Most of the funding for the park is being donated by local Canadian Tire owner Malcolm Jenkins.
“The building that we are building now, the two rinks and the pool and the big rink, phase two, that was in my campaign eight years ago … those kinds of projects usually take 10 years,” said Dionne.
It’s estimated the aquatic and arena recreation centre will cost $60 million to build. The city’s application to the Canada Infrastructure Program was approved for $44 million and the city has received $24 million from the federal government, and nearly $20 million from the provincial government.
The city purchased 18 acres of land southeast of the city for $6,525,000. The cash came from the city’s Civic Facilities Reserve established in 2014. This reserve will be used for future payments for the new facility.
During budget deliberations on Jan. 13, City Council also approved spending $254,000 for a new fitness park being built at the Alfred Jenkins Field House. It will cost $554,000 to build the park and Jenkins has donated $300,000 to the project.
Jenkins says he’s excited to see construction begin this spring on the 6,000 square foot outdoor fitness park for teens and adults. It will be built on the southeast side of the Alfred Jenkins Field House. The city anticipates it will be complete by mid-summer.
“This is going to be a health and wellness campus that’s the envy of every city in Canada and we’re pretty much there already and this pretty much puts us over the top,” said Jenkins.
In the past two years, Jenkins has donated more than $1 million to recreation infrastructure in the city, including the a 17,000 square foot Jumpstart accessible playground, the Lions spray park upgrade, a batting cage, basketball courts and a new skateboard park new in the West Flat neighbourhood.
Dionne and Jenkins agree the new fitness amenities and recreation facilities will help attract residents to the city. The city has begun preparing land for the aquatics and arena centre. City managers estimate it will take two years to build.
“People don’t just move here because they got a job but if you’re going to attract those kinds of people you have amenities to draw them to your community,” Dionne said.