The Town of Blackfalds recently held an open house for the the upcoming expansion of the Blackfalds Multi-plex.
The open house, which showcased architectural designs of the expansion which includes a twinning of the ice surface and the construction of a new municipal library, brought in members of the community to have a look at the project which could go to tender as early as January 2020 and could be constructed by as early as Spring 2021
ACI Architects Inc, the firm currently working with the Town, showcased primary renderings of the proposed site and have previously worked on community projects like Clareview Recreation Centre for the City of Edmonton and other larger scale projects like the Rogers Centre in Edmonton and practice facilities for both the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks.
Eddo Cancian, principal architect for ACI Architects Inc., said the open house allows them to tweak their final designs with community input. This community voice is what makes projects like these exciting for Cancian and his team.
“Civic centres like libraries or arenas really bring the community together. Although we are the designers, we are only holding the pencil and the towns really moving it for us. We are executing on paper what their vision is,” Cancian said.
Once this feedback is taken into account, the architects will present their finalized visions to Blackfalds council in two weeks time. The town will then gather feedback from recent presentations made to Blackfalds Recreation, Culture and Parks; the Library Board and Lacombe County and look to move to tender in the new year.
The total budgeted for the phased project is $15 million budgeted for the rink and $4 million the library.
“We have a long-range budget in our 10-year capital plan. We have worked it into that and inclusive in that are the reserves we have going into this project, as well as contributions we will need from the province,” Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said.
If provincial funding is not forthcoming, Poole said the town will be able to fit into their budget due the town still being in a safe threshold in terms of municipal debt.
Poole was grateful to the Dual Ice Development Society who pushed for this project over a year ago. The push from the society convinced council to push the project forward the project in order to be prepared for an expected population growth to 20,000 citizens by 2026
“We realize that we have to be prepared for everything that will happen with that growth,” Poole said.
Poole encouraged residents to continue to engage with the town on this project in the weeks, months and years to come and said they will continue to address the concerns of citizens going forward.
He also added that the town has been approached by and Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) team that is interested in moving into the new arena.
“We have made some preliminary plans in the design if they were to come in and in two weeks, we are hoping to make a very positive announcement,” he said.
Poole added, “I hope that everybody will find a way to find out what we are doing over the next couple months and join us in the excitement.”