Several recommendations were presented to city council on Monday as part of the second phase of the city's Southwest Recreation Centre in preparation for site master planning.
Mayor Peter Brown underlined the importance of the information which is needed to balance the immediate needs of the community with opportunities to grow the city's visitor economy.
The Airdrie Arena Analysis report compares an arena capable of hosting tournaments and major competitions with expanded spectator seating to a community-focused arena. The report provides information on the benefits and impacts of several options, including:
- Expanded spectator seating (1500-2500 seats). The benefits of this type of choice would mean providing opportunities for hosting tournaments, competitions and events, as well as attracting the visitor economy and creating additional jobs.
Impacts of such a choice could also mean reduced community ice availability by up to 25 per cent, providing 1.75 sheets of ice for community use rather than two. It would also require larger parking areas with increased traffic, additional construction and operating costs, as well as a larger footprint, decreasing the space available for the amenities included in future phasing.
- Community use-focused arena (approximately 500 seats). The benefits of this type of choice would provide two sheets of ice for user group and community use.
The impacts of such a choice could mean a decrease in economic benefits directly tied to the visitor economy
“We can confirm that the phase II arena will have twin ice sheets,” said Brad Anderson, Manager of Recreation. “As we begin the site master planning, we’re also looking at the impact of scaling one rink to be slightly larger to serve the community’s needs while hosting tournaments, competitions and events. The impacts of this potential option include the benefits of an added visitor economy, as well as construction and operating affordability, parking and traffic considerations and the overall size of the new centre.”
Phase II of the Southwest Recreation Centre is not set to begin construction until 2028-2029, information regarding its future footprint is required for facility planning and design before construction of the centre’s first phase.
Phase I of the new Recreation Centre, which will include a pool, fitness centre and potential gymnasium and family play areas, is expected to open in late 2026 – early 2027, with fieldhouse spaces being addressed in phase III construction.
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