South Peace News
Peace River town council has decided to ask for proposals to repurpose the Al Adair Rec Centre.
The building is owned by the Town but has been leased to the Peace Country Sports Club since the 1980s. The surrounding property belongs to the Government of Alberta.
The sports club, which managed the rec centre, closed its doors on Aug. 31. The preschool and air cadet squadron that used the building have since moved.
“The sports club is still dealing with some of their assets that they haven’t been able to dispose of, and they are still dealing with their debt that is outstanding with a federal agency,” says Tanya Bell of Peace River community services.
“They are having a hard time disposing of those assets, so until such time as they deal with them I haven’t formally terminated the lease with them.
“We’ve come to an arrangement so they can continue to try to dispose of them, but I am going to be asking them to set a date … so we can move forward,” Bell says.
Bell wants the asset and lease situation to be cleared up by the end of January 2020.
Peace River town council reviewed different options for the future of the building at their regular meeting Dec. 9, which included keeping the building, selling the building, or exploring other options through a request for proposals.
“With the new Baytex Energy Centre is has been a part of different conversations that now this structure becomes redundant with that facility that we’ve put in place,” Bell says.
An engineer’s report from 2016 says the structure of the building is sound overall, but the masonry on the racquetball courts needs to be fixed. The building, which was built in the 1950s, also needs to be updated to meet current building codes.
Bell says capital retrofits could cost $800,000 or more over the next 10 years.
The Town has already replaced the roof on the building to keep it from leaking, and is still doing basic maintenance on the building despite the fact it’s not currently in use.
“Power and gas is on. We’re keeping it heated so we don’t lose the structure through negligence,” Bell says.
Those costs, which are about $800 a month not including insurance, are being taken out of the Town’s operational budget.
Bell says the Town has already looked at internal ideas to repurpose the structure, such as by using it for storage for the museum. However, the space is too large for the museum’s needs and would still need renovations.
“No other department expressed a need for this structure for another purpose internally,” Bell says.
Councillor Orren Ford wonders if the building could be renovated to save the racquetball courts and expand the parking, most of which is owned by the provincial government and not the Town, but engineer Jim McCuaig says it depends which walls are load bearing.
Council ultimately decided to proceed with a public request for proposal to ask for options for a potential transfer or ownership or repurposing of Al Adair Rec Centre.
The RFP will likely open by February.