Consultants develop options for new Fredericton-owned gymnasium


A consultant’s report presented three options to the City of Fredericton if it were to build its first municipal gymnasium.

But with a price tag of $25 million for the most expensive option, plus competing priorities in a new swimming pool and performing arts center, it would likely take the city years to innovate, Coun said. Eric Megarity, chairman of the city’s livable community committee.

“It could be in four or five, six or seven years,” Megarity said.

“There are too many other issues and, of course, you know, the performing arts center and the swimming pool are two priorities that this council is working on. [gymnasium] maybe for the next tip, but you know, you have to start.”

Fredericton County Eric Megarity says he recognizes the need for a new gymnasium, but added that it’s a lower priority than building a new performing arts center and pool. (Radio Canada)

The consultant’s report, released by the city on Thursday, outlines options for the layout and location of a new multi-sport gymnasium, or sports complex, to meet the demands of a growing population.

In recent years, however, the city has scrambled to build a new performing arts center and competition pool, each estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

The report on the construction of a gymnasium, carried out by three consulting firms, follows a public engagement period the city launched last year to get a sense of community demands for more recreational facilities. .

According to their report, the consultants heard directly from 17 sports and recreation stakeholders in the city and gathered feedback from 310 responses to a public survey.

Based on what they heard, the consultants are recommending that the city build a new four-court gymnasium and plan to build two additional gymnasiums based on population growth.

The consultants also came up with three proposed locations for the construction of the new gymnasium.

The first option is to build it on the eastern edge of the New Brunswick Fairgrounds, which the city already plans to redevelop to create up to 1,200 housing units. The consultants estimate that this option would cost just under $17 million.

The New Brunswick Fairgrounds is one of the proposed locations for a new multi-sport gymnasium to be built by the City of Fredericton. (City of Fredericton)

The second proposed site does not include a defined location but would see the gymnasium built next to a school at a cost of around $16.5 million.

The third proposal would place the gymnasium alongside the Grant Harvey Centre. The consultants say this option is the least feasible, as construction would impact the operations of the Grant Harvey Center, and the additional costs of connecting the two buildings would bring the cost to around $25 million.

Between the three options, the consultants say the city would ultimately have to pay between $547,075 and $783,345 in annual operating costs, even after factoring in revenue generated from canteen user fees and licenses. .

Megarity said while he couldn’t set a timeline for building a new gymnasium, he said he recognizes the need.

“The city is growing, you know, so I mean, we have to prepare now for this possible growth in our population and with the growth in population, they want more services.

“And, you know, we provide a lot of other recreational services that we don’t make money on. So, I mean…it’s about providing services and programs to include all of these groups that want to access the recreational services.”

New gymnasium needed yesterday

JD Lejeune, owner of Active Fredericton, an adult multi-sport league that operates year-round in the city, said there has been a need for a new gymnasium for years.

With no city-owned facilities currently available, he said his league had to reserve spaces in gymnasiums owned by the University of New Brunswick or public schools.

“Schools have the first priority, so sometimes things happen and the school has to take back the time that was set aside [to us] so it can sometimes be a bit of a logistical headache,” he said.

Of the options presented, Lejeune said he thought the fairgrounds would work best.

“I think being something centralized downtown is great and I think this location on Ex NB is, you know, great for local businesses in the area.

“And, you know, with the other facilities that are there, like, you know, outdoor tennis courts, parks…I think it’s a big win if that happens there.”

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