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Aquatic Centre Questions Answered

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Since November 2016, the City has been exploring the replacement of the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool with a proposed Aquatic Centre. Here are answers to some FAQs on the proposed Aquatic Centre project. 

What do I need to know before voting in the Aquatic Centre borrowing referendum? 

Here is key information on the project ahead of the November 23, 2021 borrowing referendum, and here is a timeline of the project so far.

What will be included in the proposed Aquatic Centre?

In 2018 and 2020, the City consulted with user groups, stakeholders and the public to hear what they wanted in an aquatic centre. Based on this feedback, the RFP is requesting design proposals to build an aquatic centre that incorporates the following:

  • 25 metre, 8 lane lap pool
  • 1 metre and 3 metre springboards
  • Leisure Pool
  • Beach entry shallow area
  • Lazy river
  • Play features
  • Large amusement park style water slide
  • Hot tub
  • Steam room
  • Splash pad
  • Therapy pool
  • Spectator viewing area
  • Canteen area
  • Office/administrative space

Further details of the planned facility are available in the proposed Aquatic Centre Concept Design Report.  

What will the Aquatic Centre look like?

The proposed Aquatic Centre is in the Concept Design phase. Below are conceptual images and videos of how the proposed Aquatic Centre could look.

Conceptual Images Yellowknife Aquatic Centre

Who would build the proposed Aquatic Centre?

A Request for Qualifications was issued by the City in June 2021. Based on responses to these expressions of interest, three companies were identified as having the interest, resources, and qualifications to successfully complete the project. In July , 2021, the City issued a request for proposals for a design-build of the proposed Aquatic Centre. These companies are Bird Construction Group, Clark Builders, and PCL Construction Management Inc. All pre-qualified companies are located in either Yellowknife, NT or Edmonton, AB. In September 2021, the City selected the design-build proposal of Clark Builders. Their proposal is costed at $67,735,329 excluding GST

When will the proposed Aquatic Centre be built?

If a majority of eligible voters vote in favour of the City borrowing to fund a portion of the construction cost, the City will enter into an agreement with Clark Builders, and work on the proposed Aquatic Centre will begin in 2022. The proposed Aquatic Centre is scheduled to be completed by September 2024.

What will happen to the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool?

The Ruth Inch Memorial Pool will remain open until the proposed aquatic centre is completed and opened in 2024. During the construction of a proposed Aquatic Centre, the City would assess the RIMP to determine the future of the facility.

How much will the proposed Aquatic Centre cost?

In September 2021, the City selected the design-build proposal of Clark Builders. Their proposal is costed at $67,735,329 excluding GST. The City must borrow $10,001,000 to fund its contribution.

How likely is it that the cost of construction will increase?

The City is undertaking a Design-Build construction methodology for the development of the Aquatic Centre. What this means is that one entity — the design-build team — works under a single contract with the City to design and build the Aquatic Centre. Accountability resides with the single contractor to meet timelines and budgets, is more efficient, and costs are less likely to escalate. The budget is identified and finalized during the design phase, therefore the City — and residents — are aware and approve of the cost before construction begins.

Will the Aquatic Centre cause taxes to go up?

Annual municipal taxes are expected to increase by an estimated 1.27% to cover the annual operation and maintenance costs of the proposed Aquatic Centre, once the facility is open.

How will we pay for the Aquatic Centre? 

The proposed Aquatic Centre will be paid for using a combination of federal and municipal sources:

Federal

  • Small Communities Fund (New Building Canada Fund)
  • Formula Funding
  • Gas Tax Funding

Municipal

  • Community Public Infrastructure Funding
  • Capital Fund
  • Major Community Facility Reserve
  • Borrowing

For detailed information on Proposed Aquatic Centre Funding and Total Anticipated Debt Load click here.

How much will the City have to borrow?

Given funding available from federal and territorial sources, the City will need to borrow only a small proportion of the funds needed to build the proposed Aquatic Centre. The City must borrow $10,001,000 to fund its contribution.

Residents of Yellowknife will be asked to vote, in a referendum in November 2021, on whether to approve borrowing by the City. A majority of voters must vote to support the referendum to enable the City to borrow the required funds.

Why is this money not being spent on other needs? Homelessness, housing, infrastructure, etc.

The City receives funding from various sources for particular uses. For example, the City currently receives funds from the Federal Reaching Home – Canada’s Homelessness Strategy fund, which is used to address homelessness in Yellowknife. The proposed Aquatic Centre will not affect the funding the City is receiving for other projects.

Funding from federal sources has been secured specifically for the construction of the proposed Aquatic Centre. If the City does not proceed to build the proposed Aquatic Centre, we will lose approximately $13 million secured through the Building Canada Fund; the funding cannot be reallocated to other City priorities.

How do I vote?

To vote, eligible voters must cast their vote through a mail-in ballot. Ballots must be received by the City by 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, and may be returned by pre-paid mail, dropped off at City Hall or taken to one of two Voter Assistance locations on November 23, 2021. For all voting information, visit www.yellowknife.ca/Referendum.

 What happens after the referendum?

If a majority of eligible voters vote in favour of the City borrowing to fund a portion of the construction cost, the City will enter into an agreement with Clark Builders, and work on the proposed Aquatic Centre will begin in 2022.

If a majority of eligible voters vote against the City borrowing to fund a portion of the construction cost, work on the proposed Aquatic Centre will not move forward and the City will need to explore ways to extend the life of the Ruth Inch Memorial Pool and make the facility accessible in line with new legislation.

How can we find more information about the proposed Aquatic Centre?

The latest information on the proposed Aquatic Centre is available and frequently updated on the City website www.yellowknife.ca/AquaticCentre. The City will be providing updates to the media, stakeholders, and residents through a variety of platforms (website, social media, signage, advertising, Capital Update, fact sheets, etc.) as the development of the aquatic centre evolves. Have questions? Email AquaticCentre@yellowknife.ca.

All media inquiries can be directed to communications@yellowknife.ca

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