The City of Kamloops is seeking grant funding to complete a $12.3-million upgrade of the Brocklehurst Recreation Centre.
Identified as a priority project, the city has submitted an application to Infrastructure Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program, which supports cost-sharing of projects aimed at improving community facilities.
The city’s portion of the project is expected to be just under $3 million and would be funded through a 10-year loan from the Municipal Finance Authority.
The recreation centre includes an arena and an adjacent outdoor swimming pool.
Upgrades to the Fleetwood Avenue facility involve renovating the pool change rooms, adding a community space, constructing a new roof, adding new boards, glass and LED lighting to the rink, adding a fifth dressing room and relocating and updating the HVAC system.
The work would be completed over a 28-month timeline, with planning and design work completed over a year, followed by six to eight months of construction in two phases to avoid shutting down the entire facility.
Coun. Bill Sarai suggested the city also consider upgrading the bench bleachers in the rink as part of the project.
If the municipality’s application is unsuccessful, staff will bring back a plan to council with options to address the rec centre’s long-term needs.
Responding to a question from Coun. Kathy Sinclair at the most recent council meeting, corporate services director Kathy Humphrey confirmed the city had considered using reserves and debt financing, but due to the pandemic keeping casinos closed for much of the past year, the city has not received close to its normal $2 million a year from revenue at the Cascades and Chances casinos. The city receives 10 per cent of casino revenue annually.
As such, Humphrey said, there is a shortage of unallocated gaming revenue in the city’s community works fund that could be used to offset the city’s contribution.
“Without drawing down the reserves that are not intended for new capital, debt is really the best option,” she said, noting the municipality’s debt borrowing rate is below one per cent.
The Brocklehurst Recreational Centre was built in the early 1970s and most of the structure is in its original form. Each year, the facility welcomes 75,000 visitors.
Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week