Aquatics Centre Concept Plan

Aquatics Centre Borrowing Bylaw 21-036

Lac La Biche County Council has given first reading to borrowing Bylaw 21-036 which, upon final passage and approval, authorize the County to borrow $12 million to fund the Aquatics Centre project. The County estimates that the following grants and contributions will be applied to the project, which is estimated to cost $27 million:

  • Provincial grants: $9 million
  • Federal grants: $6 million
  • Debenture: $12 million

Click here to view a copy of draft Bylaw 21-036.

Aquatics Centre Borrowing: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the interest rate listed as 'not to exceed five (5) per cent?' Interest rates are lower than that.

The Province of Alberta’s Treasury Board and Finance Department only lends money quarterly, on the 15th of the months of March, June, September, and December.  The final debenture interest rate will be determined at that time.  A percentage is required to be listed in the bylaw.  Current rates for ten year debentures are 2.85% annually and the County expects to borrow for substantially less than 5%.

Are the interest rates competitive?

The debenture interest rates are based on the rates the Province of Alberta can borrow for, which are nearly the cheapest in Canada.  The interest rate, when established, will be for the entire ten–year period of the debenture, unlike a mortgage, where rates can change part way through. Currently debenture interest rates are low.  The Bold Centre debenture, recently paid off in 2020, had a ten–year interest rate of 4.315%.

Can the County afford this level of debt?

The County annually reports its debt limit and debt servicing limit to the province and the public annually through its audited financial statements.  The County’s long term debt on December 21, 2020, was $796,361, which is well under the County’s debt limit of $121,274,501.  The County’s debt service calculated on December 31, 2020 was $323,719, which is well under the County’s debt servicing limit of $20,212,417.

What is the County's outstanding debt?

The County’s outstanding long term debt on December 31, 2020 was $$796,361.  The County’s long term debt on December 31, 2021 is estimated to be $507,325.  The County’s existing debt is scheduled to be paid fully in 2023.

What about the petitioning process?

The Municipal Government Act requires borrowing bylaws for debentures longer than five years to be advertised, with an opportunity for the public to petition against the bylaw.  The bylaw will be advertised in the Lakeland Today newspaper on January 4th and 11th, 2022.  There is a fifteen day period where the public can initiate a petition, which ends on January 26, 2022.  If a sufficient petition is received by the County, Council has the following options:

  1. Call a plebiscite on the borrowing bylaw.
  2. End the project.
  3. Restructure the funding of the project so it does not require borrowing.

Petition requirements are technical and exacting.  It is advised that the County or Alberta Municipal Affairs be contacted before a petitioning process begins.

Aquatics Centre Concept Plan Information

Thank you to the community of Lac La Biche County for providing input and ideas towards this exciting project. We have listened and the proposed Concept Plan reflects your ideas. The Aquatics Centre will be a community and social hub for Lac La Biche County that meets the leisure, health, and wellness needs of families, youth, adults, and seniors.

We look forward to continued community engagement as this project moves forward.


 

The Concept Plan for the new Aquatics Centre introduces a multi-feature aquatics centre that includes a teaching and leisure pool, competition pool, lazy river, water slides, hot tub, steam rooms, multipurpose and program rooms, and viewing space. The Centre will be a source of pride for the community and a destination in Lac La Biche County for families, groups, individuals, and visitors to the area, offering a broad range of opportunities for its users. This is a one-of-a-kind amenity that has something for everyone. Whether it is learning to swim, training for water rescue, finding reprieve from a cold winter’s day, or spending time with family and friends the Aquatics Centre will be the new hub for leisure, fitness, and recreation in our region.

Quality of Life  

From fitness programs to leisure opportunities, the new Aquatics Centre will enhance the lifestyle of all members of the Lac La Biche County community by providing a safe, comfortable, and convenient place to meet, stay active, and engage with other community members.

Community Health and Wellness  

The Aquatics Centre will provide you with easy access to aquatic recreation, leisure, and fitness that can have a notable impact on your overall health. From stress management to boosting your mood, the mental health benefits from aquatics exercise will benefit the wellness of our community.

Strengthen our Community

The opening of the Aquatics Centre will be the envy of northeast Alberta, acting as an amenity to attract new residents and visitors to the County, supporting our growth and sustainability as a community. By promoting the development of swimmers at all age groups, the Centre will help facilitate sport tourism that will have positive impacts on our economy.

We expect you will have many questions as we move through this project, and we are committed to keeping the community informed every step of the way. Connect with us at recreation@laclabichecounty.com.

Aquatics Centre Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

WHY IS THE NEW AQUATICS CENTRE A GOOD MOVE FOR THE COUNTY?

The new Aquatics Centre will strengthen our community by providing new economic opportunities, enhance our quality of life, and create new ways to promote health and wellness for all County residents. Aquatics operating costs will decrease with a new, modernized Centre while providing more services to the community.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO DEVELOP THE NEW AQUATICS CENTRE AT THE BOLD CENTER?

The County has completed community engagement on the features of the Concept Plan and will compile this information by the end of October 2021. The completed design will be made available to the public by April 2022 with construction starting shortly after, with a 2-3 year construction period. The anticipated opening of the new Aquatics Centre is in 2025.

WHAT WILL THE NEW AQUATICS CENTRE FEATURE?

The Concept Plan for the new Aquatics Centre includes a teaching and leisure pool, competition pool, lazy river, water slides, hot tub, steam rooms, multi-purpose and program rooms, and viewing space.

WHERE IS IT GOING TO BE LOCATED?

Original planning of the Bold Center identified a future Aquatics Centre attached, sharing parking and other amenities within the Multi-Purpose Recreation Center.

WILL PORTAGE POOL BE KEPT OPEN? IF NOT, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO PORTAGE POOL?

The new Aquatics Centre is intended to replace Portage Pool, which is at the end of its life cycle and needs significant upgrades. The County currently leases the pool from Portage College, who will re-purpose the space for educational programming.

WHAT TYPE OF PROGRAMMING CAN I EXPECT?

Programming will be offered that reflects the needs and desires of the community. The new Aquatics Centre will be larger than the Portage Pool, as such the ability to offer more programs is available. The new amenities will also enable the delivery of some new programs.

WILL THERE BE DROP-IN LANE SWIMMING/FITNESS TIME?

We anticipate that there will be a desire for lane swimming at the new Aquatics Centre, and our plan is to create a schedule for fitness-focused time that meets these needs of our community.

WHAT WILL BE THE ADMISSION COST?

Our primary goal is to ensure that the community can access the new Aquatics Centre. The County will consider this when the new fees are set.

WHAT ARE THE OPERATING COSTS OF THE NEW AQUATICS CENTRE?

Part of the new Concept Plan was estimating operating costs, which will be very similar to existing Portage Pool operating costs. This is mainly due to improved design, energy-efficient systems, greater anticipated usage, and heat reclaiming from refrigeration systems the Bold Center.

WILL THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW AQUATICS CENTRE AFFECT THE HOURS OF OPERATION FOR THE BOLD CENTER?

There will be small effects to Bold Center programs and services, which the public will receive notice for once a detailed schedule has been completed.

HOW WILL THIS AFFECT THE CHILD MIND CENTRE?

The Child Mind Centre will have a space in the upstairs area. We have not completed the detailed planning on the upper floor, but we will be looking to include child services, wellness services, and rental areas.

WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROJECT? WHERE SHOULD I DIRECT MY QUESTIONS?

You may email recreation@laclabichecounty.com with additional questions.

This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta.