LAC LA BICHE - Construction plans for a state-of-the-art aquatic centre are moving forward, and Lac La Biche County officials are aiming to have the project completed by September of 2025.
The estimated $27 million facility, which will be managed by Turnbull Construction Project Managers based in Surrey, B.C., will be going through a multi-phased planning and construction approach.
The design for the aquatic centre is based on a RC Strategies concept plan that was rigorously approved by council and has gone through community consultations and extensive research.
The amenities projected to be included in the final plan are a 25 meter, six-lane competition pool, a large leisure pool for all ages and skills, a sauna and steam room, recreation rooms for large gatherings, waterslides, viewing areas, a lazy river and a hot tub.
With over three years to build the facility, which will be added to the Bold Center recreation space, County councillors are aiming to make sure targets, timelines and budgets are met.
Moving forward, Turnbull Construction will engage in the project’s initiation phase, which will include scheduling, budgets, risk assessments and design details alongside engaging with County council and administration to finalize the aquatic centre plans, said Alex Godfrey, Turnbull’s designated project manager.
Understanding the community and the needs of Bold Center visitors and groups like J.A Williams High School – groups that will likely regularly use the aquatic center – will also be considered as the project moves forward, he added.
In the coming weeks, the project management group will not only asses the design concept and needs, but also open competition for a construction team to get the project going. Turnbull estimates the design phase could take up to 18 months while the construction phase could range from 24 to 28 months, said Geoff Watson, Turnbull Construction Principal. More information will be known soon to see if the 3.5-year target is accurate, he added.
“It is reasonable that it falls within that 3.5 to four-year window...I think some of our work in the coming weeks will help solidify that more and we’re happy to report back with a more informed answer,” he said during a council meeting on July 26.
In order to have a good final product, the planning stages are vital, said Watson.
“Our focus here is really getting it right on the first phase. Having the foundation elements there so we can move forward confidently and that looks at the pre-planning, the design work, and the engagement that’s done with the stakeholder,” he said.
Making sure the project is constructed properly and carfeully, needs to be a top priority considering the $27 million commitment made and the future efficiency of the facility, said County Coun. Kevin Paré.
“I’d like to see us take our time and design this properly with all the right things in mind and not rush it,” he said.
Time to build
Considering discussions on the project began years ago and hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone into planning, community consultations and design plans, the ball on the project needs to move from the drawing board and become a reality, said Coun. Sterling Johnson.
“Time is money. We did a lot of extensive preliminary work with the community and what their needs and wants were... We have a vision of what we want it to look like,” said Johnson.
“We have the Bold Center and we want something that complements the Bold Center and I think we have done good work and nailed down what we kind of want… I don’t want to waste time going back and forth.”
Performance is key
Moving forward, having budget and timelines in mind, and ultimately keeping performance needs at the forefront is vital, Watson said.
“If the schedule is a priority and there is a desire to go fast and accelerate, often that comes at a trade-off at either cost or performance,” said Watson.
“It’s the performance, the way the building operates, the way the building provides the experience for the users that really trumps all of that when the day comes.”
In the coming weeks, timelines and more project details are expected to roll out.