GRAND OPENING - A cake-cutting was held to celebrate the grand opening of the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex on Sept. 29th.                                Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

GRAND OPENING - A cake-cutting was held to celebrate the grand opening of the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex on Sept. 29th. Todd Colin Vaughan/Lacombe Express

Lacombe celebrates grand opening of the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex

Events included swimming, a cake-cutting ceremony and a ceremonial puck drop at the Lacombe Generals game

The City of Lacombe held the official grand opening of the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex on Sept. 29th, which showcased many uses of municipal partnerships in Central Alberta.

Outgoing Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie said municipalities have to work with their neighbors in order to complete large-scale projects like recreation centres.

“‘Have-to’ is the key word. We have to work together,” Christie said.

“We work very, very well with the County and hopefully that relationship will be carried forward. It is such an important relationship to work together for all of our citizens and not just the citizens of Lacombe.

“For all the people who will use these facilities from across the province, it showcases our community.

“We work together in many ways like our regional wastewater, so why not with our recreational facilities.”

The City held a joint celebration, which included Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law, MP Red Deer-Lacombe Blaine Calkins, MLA Lacombe-Ponoka Ron Orr, as well as representatives from Stantec and Scott Builders who helped redesign and reconstruct the old arena complex.

The redevelopment, according to a City of Lacombe press release, is now a major recreational hub in the region that can better serve all the user groups and meet the long-term needs of Lacombe and area residents.

For Christie, the project is a capstone for his time serving Lacombe.

“This is a project that has been in the works for a long time,” Christie said.

“In some of the positions that I have held, you pick hills to die on. This is one I wanted to see through completion and here today is a magical moment.”

Christie envisions the sportsplex being a meeting place for not just Lacombe residents, but anyone who visits the City.

“This is the hub of our community and it brings other communities around us together,” he said.

“It builds a regional sense of pride.”

The building will be a place that builds memories and relationships for years to come, according to Christie.

“It is so important. Facilities are not everything in a community but they bring people together. This is a place for people to get together and enjoy themselves.

“It is a place where people will meet and get to know each other,” he said.

This is the second re-design that Christie has been apart of during his time on Council and he sees the similarities between the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex and the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

“One of my first projects back in the early 2000s was the LMC, which was a similar project where we took the old building and turned it into what it is today,” he said.

“Being part of both of these developments during my tenure here in Lacombe has been a pleasure.”

The development is more than Christie and his team envisioned.

“It exceeds my expectations. You see drawings and you walk through during construction, but you don’t see the true picture until it is finally done and the paint is on the walls,” he said.

The City celebrated by having free events throughout the day including swimming, a cake-cutting ceremony and a ceremonial puck drop at the Lacombe Generals game.

“It is such a great day,” Christie said.

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todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com