City council approved the construction of a $77-million aquatic centre by a vote of 10-1 Thursday night. Only Alan Halberstadt voted against it. (Ellis Don-DeAngelis Construction)

City council approved the construction of a $77-million aquatic centre by a vote of 10-1 Thursday night.

Mayor Eddie Francis said council is "addressing the needs of the our community."

But Coun. Alan Halberstadt, the only one of 11 to vote against the project, says the opposite.

"I didn’t like the way they’ve stripped vulnerable neighbourhoods of their amenities [and] the cost has escalated," Halberstadt said.

In order to cover the costs of the new facility, the city will close Windsor Water World, the College Avenue Community Centre and the Adie Knox pool.

The aquatic centre was originally slated to cost approximately $44-million but has risen to $77.6-million.

"We're out-competing other cities now, and we're doing it in a way that's fiscally responsible," Francis said.

'There are better ways to spend that money.' — Coun. Alan Halberstadt

"It’s my feeling and I’m not alone, I know that, because a lot of people talk to me, spending 77 mil on this project is ... at the wrong time and [on] the wrong project," Halberstadt said. "There are better ways to spend that money."

Ellis Don-DeAngelis Construction won the bid but did have to scale back its original plans but the company said no corners were cut.

"It was quite surprising how well it laid out even the second time around so we're quite comfortable that the City of Windsor and the user groups will get exactly what they're intended to get," Max DeAngelis said.

There are still details to iron out, including what the exterior will look like.

"That will come back in short order, we'll flow through standing committee and we'll be on our way, shovel in the ground early in the new year," aquatic centre steering committee chair Drew Dilkens said.

The final agreement needs to be signed by Dec. 31 and a building permit still needs to be issued. After that, early in the new year the developer will break ground.

Max DeAngelis says he prefers to use local contractors whenever possible and the project could see as many as 300 workers on the site during peak construction.

With files from Steven Bull and Kimberly Juras