Spruce Grove envisions $79M sport and event centre

Residents of Spruce Grove will get a look next month at plans for a $79-million multi-use sport and event centre that would be part of the largest development in the city's history.

The facility would have two ice surfaces. A main, multi-use bowl would seat up to 5,300 people and a second community pad would hold 200 spectators.

A proposal to develop the sports complex as part of the $310-million Westwind Centre development was brought to Spruce Grove city council Monday.

Westwind Centre, which will include a hotel, office buildings and a supermarket, sits on a 180-acre parcel of land south of the Yellowhead Highway and east of Century Road. Planning began nine years ago. Construction of roadways and other elements has begun.

"Westwind Centre is a $310-million development overall, and the multi-use sport and event centre that the city is proposing is part of the synergy that helps drive the overall development," Spruce Grove Mayor Stuart Houston said Tuesday.

"We've done a lot of homework on it, we know the financial modelling can work, and we're excited about getting the information out there, to look to create partnerships within our region and with the province of Alberta and with the private sector as well.

"I'm very excited about the possibilities of raising the profile of our region."

The facility would be designed to host sports tournaments, trade shows, craft fairs, conferences, concerts, graduations, memorials, award ceremonies and other events.

Spruce Grove is considering a community revitalization levy for the project, similar to the levy Edmonton used to help build the Rogers Place arena in Edmonton, Houston said.

He said city officials are talking about the project with the provincial government, Stony Plain and Parkland County, the private development community and potential operators for the sports complex, which would be owned by the municipality.

Spruce Grove city council is expected to vote in January 2018 on whether or not to proceed with the sports complex. If it goes ahead, it could open by the fall of 2020.

The next step is to share the concept for the sports and event centre with the community. Two public presentations about the project will be held Monday, April 3, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Horizon Stage in Spruce Grove.

"It's been something that I've wanted to get out to public engagement for a number of years," Houston said. "Right now is where the rubber really hits the road. We're going out to our public and we're going to get some feedback from them as well, and we're going to show how this can work.

"Yes, it's a bold vision for our city, but you know what? When you go out to do something like this, you've got to aim high."

Spruce Grove has a population of 34,000 and is 33 kilometres west of Edmonton.