Edmonton

Edmonton's west-end residents renew calls for local rec centre

Nearly 30,000 Edmontonians living west of Anthony Henday Drive are being denied access to high-quality recreational facilities, community leaders say.

Communities west of Anthony Henday growing rapidly

West end residents are fighting for a recreation centre, but the city may favour $106-million upgrade to the Kinsmen Sport Centre. (CBC News)

Nearly 30,000 Edmontonians living west of Anthony Henday Drive are being denied access to high-quality recreational facilities, community leaders say.

“I think families are ... not able to put their children into the programs and services that they're looking for,” Jason Rumer, president of the Glastonbury Community League, told CBC's Mark Connolly this morning.

While the west-end neighbourhoods are among the fastest growing in the city, the nearest city recreational facility is the aging and small Jasper Place pool, a 15-minute drive away, he said.

The busy non-profit Jamie Platz YMCA is closer, but it can be difficult to get into programs such as swimming lessons without a membership, which can be expensive, Rumer said.

A facility similar to Terwillegar, Clareview or the Meadows has been on the books for the west end for a decade, but rapid growth means the need is becoming urgent, he said.

Of the nearly 30,000 people living west of the Henday, Rumer estimates 6,000 are children under the age of 14.

The requested west-end rec centre will need to compete with a proposed $106-million upgrade for the Kinsmen Sports Centre.

“Upgrading the Kinsmen is of great benefit to the city and we’re not opposed to that, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the residents and taxpayers that have been living in the west end for many decades without access to great facilities," Rumer said.

Now, Rumer is urging councillors to at least fund the design of a new facility in the 2015 – 2018 capital budget.

The public hearing for the budget is Nov. 24.

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