Wednesday, 12 December 2012 14:53

Planning process for Swift Current Integrated Facility still looking for input from the public

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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More details about the vision for an integrated facility in Swift Current were presented during an information session at the Credit Union iplex Dec. 6.

While the four project partners provided an update on the progress to date, the main purpose of the information session was to highlight the proposed wellness centre and the community facilities of the Swift Current Integrated Facility (SCIF).
The event was attended by around 50 people and only one person asked a question and made some comments during the question and answer session. Tim Marcus, City of Swift Current Deputy Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer,  felt the smaller turnout was probably a result of previous consultations where people already made their input.
“Over 80 per cent of the people were in favour of the facility and I think that they’ve already seen it and are in favour of it,” he said. “So I think that was part of the reason why there was a little lower turnout and no questions tonight really.”
Participants in the information session were asked to complete a survey that will provide the project consultants with community feedback about the proposed wellness centre.
Susan Major, ZW Group Project Manager, who moderated the information session, said their intention is to proceed with the planning for the community facilities and input from the community is still an important part of that process.
“We’ll continue with the communications with the community moving forward and as part of the stakeholder community process we’re looking for feedback,” she mentioned.
A community stakeholder advisory committee will be established to participate in the preliminary design concept for the community facilities, which include an aquatics centre, the art gallery, the City library, the Chinook Regional Library, a wellness centre and a field house.
According to Major the project consultants will focus on establishing a business case and funding model for the community facilities during the first few months of 2013. They will therefore be looking for input from residents and interested parties on the design of these facilities, financial support and partnerships.
Marcus said the information from the business case and the capital cost options for funding the community facilities will be used by the City during upcoming budget sessions with council members. The public library and art gallery are currently included in the designs for the community facilities, but he emphasized there will be more public consultation and the plans are still conceptual.
“I can’t say it’s a definite go ahead, that’s really up to council,” he noted. “We need to provide the information on how we would be able to operate that facility as well as really defining the capital construction costs of the various facilities and potentially how we would be able to fund those. Those options need to be presented to council for them to really decide how we move forward from here.”
The various community facilities might be phased in to deal with the potential cost implications of each development. Marcus felt the City’s partnership with the Cypress Health Region to create a wellness centre will probably mean that portion of the community facilities can happen sooner. The need to replace the existing aquatic facility might also make the proposed aquatic centre a priority.
“The City has recognized for some time that the existing aquatic facility is nearing the end of its existing life and would need to be replaced,” he said. “So the leisure aquatic facility in the integrated facility would replace that facility at a future date.”
Marcus felt the development of the community facilities will probably take longer than the long-term care facility. During the information session the Cypress Health Region indicated that it continues to work with the Ministry of Health to secure funding for that facility.
The Chinook School Division and the Holy Trinity Catholic School Division are the only partners that have seen visible progress with their components of the integrated facility during the past two years. The sod turning event for the two new schools took place on Oct. 18 and the first concrete piles were installed on the same day. The piles are installed at a rate of 50 per day and its installation is nearing completion.
The construction of the steel superstructure will begin during this month and the entire building is expected to be closed in by the middle of 2013, with completion scheduled for 2014. Randy Beler, Chinook School Division Board Chair  said the winter weather has so far not caused any construction delays.
“The schools are being erected as if it was one single project,” he mentioned. “Construction started on the east side where the Ecole Centennial School is located and move progressively to the joint areas and to the west to the All Saints Catholic School.”
While funding for the health and community facilities must still be secured, the City and Cypress Health Region have established a partnership to create a wellness centre as a key component of the SCIF.
Brenda Schwan, Cypress Health Region Executive Director for Human Resources said the wellness centre will promote health and wellness in the community through the provision of services to promote physical activity, rehabilitation services and health education.
“It really presents opportunities to start expanding our programs and offering state of the art programs here in Swift Current,” she noted. “There is not another facility like this in Saskatchewan.”
The Wellness Institute in Winnipeg, which is associated with the Seven Oaks General Hospital, provides a similar service. That institute is assisting the City and the Cypress Health Region to develop a business case for a wellness centre at the SCIF.
“Ours will be even better because we’re partnering with the City,” Schwan said. “They are joined to a hospital, but they don’t have the City infrastructure to be able to support their program.”
The presentation material from the Dec. 6 information session and the wellness centre survey are available on the City of Swift Current website. Any questions or input about the integrated facility can be directed to Susan Major at 306-667-3893 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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