Aging sports complex focus of public meeting

Charlottetown residents offered input into the future of an aging sports facility at a public meeting Monday night.

Simmons Sports Centre needs extensive renovation or replacement of pool, arena

Simmons Sports Centre costs Charlottetown $250,000 a year to operate. (CBC)

Charlottetown residents offered input into the future of an aging sports facility at a public meeting Monday night.

The Simmons Sports Centre's arena, pool and sports fields are relatively busy, but cost residents more than $250,000 a year, says the city.

If they are to stay open, the arena and pool will likely need to be replaced or renovated extensively before long.

"I mean, essentially what we're trying to say to taxpayers is that we do have a lot of aging infrastructure in the city. Is this something that is a priority to you?" says Sue Fraser, the city's parks and recreation manager.

The city has hired the Toronto-based consulting firm Sierra Planning and Management to develop a master plan for the Simmons Sports Centre.

One of the tasks is to get public input through online surveys.

"The last thing you want is an exercise that's done from someone's desk, looking at stats and trends and building conditions. That's all part of it, but understanding people's vision, that's important," said consultant Jon Hack.

Jon Hack, a consultant with Sierra Planning and Management, says understanding residents' vision is important. (CBC)

Of the 30 or so residents that were in attendance, most agreed that shutting down the complex should not be an option.

"You can join gyms, and you can do all kinds of things, but to have something that's affordable," said Linda Patten.

"And this one is in close proximity to a number of schools."

The city expects to have recommendations from the consulting firm this fall.

For mobile device users: Is it worth putting a community's financial resources into older sports facilities such as Simmons Sports Centre?