$16.4 million expansion planned for Sackville rec centre:But seniors want new addition built sooner than later

Committee members opted for the bigger option.

“It can accommodate more people and accommodate more parking,” Lee said.

But Lee noted the city has given the expansion an 8-10-year window which, as MacDougall noted, isn’t acceptable to the seniors.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do because our membership is increasing all the time,” Lee said. “I don’t know how we’re going to accommodate the people for the next nine years.”

Lee said the centre has 2,400 members and about 500 people visit Sackville each day and they are pretty much running at capacity.

She said the board will be lobbying the city to try and get the addition built in the next five or six years.

East Mountain councillor Tom Jackson, who is also a member of the Sackville expansion committee, also wants to see the new wing added sooner than later.

“I’m very much aware of the immediacy of the seniors’ desire,” said Jackson who noted he will be urging his city council colleagues to make the issue a priority when the city applies for funding from the community, culture and recreation stream of the Investment Canada Infrastructure Program, a federal/provincial initiative.

City staff are working on a list of potential projects that could be funded under the program and will report to the general issues committee on Oct. 16.

“The indications I’ve had from staff is Sackville will definitely be on that list,” Jackson said.

The Ward 6 councillor was the parks and recreation committee chair when the recreation centre opened in 1992.

He said the centre was built at the time with future expansion in mind.

Jackson noted he had floated the idea of adding a swimming pool to the expansion plans, but it was not a high priority with the seniors.

“I agree with the seniors and would love to see the Sackville expansion project move forward tomorrow,” said central Mountain councillor Esther Pauls, whose Ward 7 includes the seniors’ centre. “I will be looking at committing some funds from my area rating for the Sackville expansion. I think that if some of the seniors also engaged in further fundraising efforts it could impact the completion date.”