When Mount Pearl's long-awaited sports complex opens later this summer, it will come with an environmental pedigree that will impress residents, officials say.
"There's a lot of green energy into this, and I think people are going to be wowed when they come through that door," Deputy Mayor Jim Locke told CBC News at the Pearlgate sportsplex.
Expected to open in mid-August, the complex will offer swimming and a variety of recreation programs — plus some under-the-hood engineering that will minimize the environmental footprint, not to mention save tax dollars over the long run.
"It's one of the greenest facilities in Atlantic Canada. I'm going to suggest east of Montreal," said Locke.
One example is in the washrooms. "We're capturing the rainwater to use in our toilets and our urinals, so as not to use potable water from the Bay Bulls drinking water system," he said.
Connected to both the nearby Reid Centre and the Glacier, the Pearlgate complex uses geothermal pumps, and takes advantage of energy created at its neighbours. The Glacier, for instance, uses an environmentally friendly way to make ice, and "if there is surplus heat, we can use it to heat our swimming pool."
The Pearlgate complex is a $35-million project that Locke says is well worth the hefty price tag, because of how its energy demands will be limited for years to come.
"The capital expenditures upfront are higher than normal, but the operational expenditures over the life of the facility will pay back huge in dividends," he said, adding that council uses "our green lens" to evaluate projects needing approval.
"It sometimes costs a little more financially, but around our council table, we don't just look at financial costs — we look at social costs, but also environmental costs," he said.
Earlier this week, Mount Pearl hosted a recruiting fair for Pearlgate, to find another 30 and 40 full-time and part-time employees to run the complex when it opens later this summer. There are already about 50 people on staff.
"We want people for greeting the residents and customers when they come in," he said. "People to design fitness programs, lifeguarding, swimming lessons, people to design a weight training program to make sure people are using the equipment properly and stuff like that."