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Delta to spend $120-to-$130M for new aquatic, fitness facility

Groundbreaking is expected to take place next year
City staff note that with the growing population, the existing facility and amenities are no longer adequate to serve the community. Delta Optimist file

Public engagement will get underway, and a detailed design will be completed, for a replacement of the Winskill Aquatic and Fitness Centre in Tsawwassen, a facility that will cost in the $120-to-$130 million range.

On Monday, Delta council gave an enthusiastic go-ahead for staff to start consultations with user groups after agreeing to have a new facility built rather than renovating  the existing facility, which opened in the mid-1970s.

Council was told a recent assessment determined the costs would be equivalent.

“Factoring in these considerations, replacement is recommended as it best meets the long-term needs of the community, minimizes disruptions to current Winskill users, and reduces potential risks and unknown costs associated with the project,” a staff report notes.

Saying it will be important for council to look over the proposed design and any changes before proceeding, Mayor George Harvie said the project, which will involve the city borrowing funds, will be paid off, in part, with the new two percent recreation capital investment levy on this year’s property tax bill. 

The levy will also be used to help pay for projects elsewhere in Delta, while government grants also will be sought for the Winskill project.

Full replacement offers the potential to consider the placement of the facility within Winskill Park closer to 56th Street, the report notes. However, Harvie stressed it would be preferable not to lose playing field use and have the new facility on the west side of the current building, adding that more parking will also be needed.

Harvie also said, after receiving input from user groups, it will be important to have the proposed new eight-lane pool expanded to 10 lanes from the start.

Coun. Dylan Kruger described a new building as the “fiscally responsible” option as the new facility could serve the growing community’s needs for another 50-to-60 years.”

The anticipated timeline would see groundbreaking in 2025 with the new facility opening in 2027, at which time the old building would close.

The future of the facility has been talked about for years with various condition and feasibility assessments, including an earlier recommendation to proceed with renovations rather than an entirely new building.