Three years after the City of Brandon listed the creation of an outdoor aquatics complex as a goal in its Recreation and Community Facilities Master Plan, it has finally issued a request for proposals to evaluate the feasibility of constructing such a facility.
The item was posted to the city’s website on Tuesday.
In the documents provided, it is stated that the city’s single remaining outdoor pool and its five spray parks aren’t sufficiently meeting the needs of residents.
"City residents often report traveling to surrounding communities to find quality outdoor aquatic facilities in the summer months," one of the documents reads. "The City has an opportunity to replace its underperforming pool with an upgraded outdoor aquatics complex that will serve as a destination within Brandon and beyond."
The winning bidder will be tasked with examining many of the preliminary details needed to build the proposed complex, including the community’s desire for a facility, its location, technical design options, environmental sustainability and cost.
Brandon wants the study to study potential features for the complex as well, such as a training or leisure water tank, water slides, spray or diving features, a green space and other amenities.
It will also include all the elements needed for the complex to run properly, including sewer and water, drainage, changerooms, washrooms, parking, concessions and more.
The document does not list when the city wants the facility to open, but a timeline in the 2019 master plan lists the implementation of an outdoor aquatic complex taking place between 2025 and 2029.
Between 2020 and 2024, the aquatics section of the master plan states the city will undertake the feasibility study, continue to invest in spray parks, review its service agreement with the YMCA, develop a strategy for decommissioning the existing outdoor pools and created a detailed design for the new complex.
That master plan was developed before the COVID-19 pandemic started and does not take into account any delays or changes to cost estimates caused in the intervening years.
It does, however, list the aquatic complex in the rural municipality of Souris-Glenwood as a potential model for Brandon’s facility. That outdoor facility, completed in 2019, has a heated pool, four water slides, a lazy river feature and a beach-like entry.
The Sun contacted the city on Wednesday requesting an interview on the plans for the complex but did not receive a reply by press time.
Last year, a group of residents formed an advocacy group calling for the creation of a destination water park at the corner of 13th Street and Richmond Avenue on the Keystone Centre grounds.
That group started to solicit donations to cover the cost of constructing the facility. The Sun was unable to speak with Judy Walker, who was leading that group, on Wednesday by deadline.
When the Sun spoke with Brandon’s director of parks and recreation Perry Roque on the subject in July 2021, he said the feasibility study was scheduled to take place in 2023 and construction would start in 2025 or 2026.
Submissions for the request for proposals close at 5 p.m. on July 6.
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