The Kinsmen Aquatic Centre isn't going down without a fight.
That was made clear at Tuesday's parks and recreation meeting in North Battleford. At the meeting, committee member Richard Hiebert, also president of the Battlefords Heritage Society, made clear his concerns about the proposed demolition of the aquatic centre.
The Kinsmen Aquatic Centre is slated to be demolished after the opening of the new Co-op Aquatic Centre this summer. A 94-unit seniors' condominium and apartment complex is being proposed to replace it at the Diefenbaker Drive and 18th Avenue location. Saskatoon-based Caleb Group is pursing the development.
Hiebert called for the Kinsmen Aquatic Centre structure to be preserved and said the age of the structure – almost 50 years old – is enough for the building to qualify as a historic structure.
He noted the distinctive Quonset-style look of the building and said that as far as he knew, only one other building in the Battlefords was built in this style – the former Safeway on 101st Street.
“If there is another way, then I think maybe it should be looked at,” said Hiebert, who suggested perhaps turning the facility into a seniors' centre or a dance hall with old-time music.
He also made the case for perhaps preserving the façade of the building if the interior could not be saved.
At one point in the meeting Hiebert questioned whether the cost of renovating the facility was actually in the millions of dollars.
“Millions of dollars? When the walls are good and the roof is good for another 15 or 20 years, it's still going to cost millions of dollars?” asked Hiebert.
“Yes,” responded committee chair Don Buglas. Parks and Recreation Director Keith Anderson confirmed the number as well. “This isn't numbers that I pulled out of the air, Richard,” he said.
He pointed to numbers he had obtained from roofing, structural and mechanical consultants. The heating system, which needes to be totally redone, would have approached $1 million alone, Anderson said.
Hiebert made clear his group would give their thoughts on the demolition in a public hearing scheduled on the proposed rezoning. The public hearing is to be held in advance of passage of two bylaws that would approve the proposed seniors' development at the location.