The District of Squamish is set to put a call out to companies interested in building the community's first municipally owned fitness centre.
Municipal staff plan to bring a request for proposals (RFP) before council within the next two weeks, the district's director of recreation said.
“All in all, it would be a positive development,” Tim Hoskin told the Squamish Breakfast Club on Tuesday (Nov. 27).
A gym at Brennan Park Recreation Centre is one of the most sought-after additions to the facility, he said. It also would help generate revenue for the municipality, Hoskin noted. District officials estimate the new gym would net $2.4 million in admission fees over a 10-year period. The money derived from admission fees would increase over time, but would average $458,000 over the facility's first five years of operation, Hoskin told council last March. Factoring in operating costs, approximately 4.5 years after opening, the gym would reach a break-even point, he said.
Some residents feel such a gym would impact privately run gyms, Hoskin said. However, generally it's a different demographic, he said. For example, the facility would appeal to mothers with children in programs at the centre, he said.
Last spring, council set aside $45,000 to create a pre-design for the suggested 4,250-square-foot fitness centre.
“The facility is long overdue,” Hoskin said.
The recreation department is still working on the community's Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Last week, staff sat down with members of the Squamish Youth Resource Centre. The draft plan anticipates the youth centre, adjacent to Howe Sound Secondary School, moving to Brennan Park. The centre is nearing the end of its life, Hoskins said.
That's one recommendation the youth centre doesn't back, said Kathy Daniels, outreach manager for Sea to Sky Community Services, which oversees the youth centre. Although those who run the centre want to build on the relationship with Brennan Park, youth need their own space, she said. The facility has multiple rooms, which allows for a wide variety of programs to run simultaneously.
“I think it would be very hard to move them,” Daniels said.