The municipality of Summerland is now considering the next steps in replacing the aging Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre. The building was constructed in 1976 and is near the end of its useful life. (Summerland Review file photo)

Summerland considers replacing aging aquatic centre

Facility was constructed in 1976 and is near the end of its useful life

The District of Summerland has identified the need for the replacement of the Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre and is considering including a primary health care centre as part of council’s strategic priority.

The municipality has completed a procurement process to obtain consulting services to lead a comprehensive community consultation and engagement process and to complete a facility needs assessment.

At the June 8 meeting, council chose Carscadden and Lees to begin the first phase of this project.

READ ALSO: Summerland Aquatic Centre nears end of serviceable life

READ ALSO: Summerland recreation facilities closed

Carscadden Stokes McDonald Architects is a collaborative, full-service architectural studio. Lees and Associates is an engagement and landscape planning and design firm.

These firms are bringing together a team of eight professionals specializing in project management, architecture, planning, engagement, recreation facilities and health service delivery. Both firms have extensive experience in aquatic, recreation and health facilities in British Columbia and the Okanagan.

A memorandum of understanding between the municipality, School District 67, Interior Health and South Okanagan Division of Family Practice has also been executed.

This formal document outlines the expectations of each of the partners as we explore potential development of a joint use facility.

The intention of this partnership opportunity is to bring stakeholders together to develop and implement plans for a community recreation and health centre which addresses recreation and wellness needs from each organization as well as the needs in the community.

READ ALSO: Summerland to discuss health and wellness centre at UBCM Convention

The partner organizations recognize the potential benefits and efficiencies that can be achieved in collaborating on the development of community health infrastructure in Summerland.

The partner organizations agree that the proposed centre could be a way to fulfill many community needs including the replacement of the Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre, a new high school gymnasium, clinic space for primary health care teams as well as other emerging needs such a child care spaces, youth services and other health care related needs. The organizations look forward to gaining input from the community about this concept.

“The District of Summerland is very pleased to be leading this collaborative initiative with partners who share our vision to create a healthy and resilient community,” said Mayor Toni Boot.

She said the concept was presented to Interior Health and provincial ministers in September, 2019. At that time, it received broad support.

“Both the Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen and the Penticton Indian Band have written letters of support as well. Now, with the awarding of the contract, the necessary community consultation and engagement piece can begin,” she said

This first phase of this project will begin with asking the community to provide the municipality and partner organizations with a clear understanding of the community’s expectations and needs for the replacement of the Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre as well as the opportunity for collaborative primary care and team-based care services.

The existing Summerland Aquatic and Fitness Centre was built in 1976 and has received upgrades over the years. A report received late in 2018 suggested the building was near the end of its useful life.

“Most of the building envelope is in poor condition with significant water and air leakage and potential for mould. The facility is consuming approximately 86 per cent more energy per unit of floor area than the average swimming pool. Spaces have been adapted to meet increased program demands and do not function properly,” the report stated.

When the facility was built, Summerland’s population was a little more than half the present population of around 12,000 people.

“A new larger facility designed to current standards and codes is recommended to better meet the needs of the community it serves,” the report stated.

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