Councillors debate demolition of old aquatic centre

·1 min read

Councillors discussed the future of the old Minoru Aquatic Centre at last night’s general purposes committee meeting, eventually voting in favour of a proposal that would see $2.7 million go to its demolition.

A second option was presented by staff: repurposing the building, estimated to cost $8.8 million dollars. The renovation would extend the building’s life by 10 to 15 years, making it usable by community groups for that length of time.

“We don’t really need this space for what it was originally intended for,” said Coun. Alexa Loo. “I think most people would agree that we want to return our green space. I do love the idea of repurposing the building, I know that historically you look all over the world and they repurpose old pools to be skate parks. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had a world-class skate park right in the middle of our park? However, we haven’t heard from the public up to now that that’s what they want.”

Several councillors said they would support repurposing the building at a lower cost with fewer modifications, which was not one of the options presented.

“I do believe the building as it sits could be repurposed, but not a Cadillac version, just a scaled-down version because we have to be practical,” said Coun. Carol Day. “I think that having only one (repurposing) option at 8.8 million dollars is not looking at the broader picture.”

The motion to demolish the building passed with councillors Loo, Bill McNulty, Chak Au and Linda McPhail and the mayor in favour. Councillors Day, Harold Steves and Michael Wolfe were opposed.

Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel