Multi-Use Facility Community Consultation

The successful response to the 2019 wildfire was the result of extensive cooperation and partnership between provincial government departments, regional service agencies, local municipal entities, and our region’s citizens. While this partnership and cooperation went a long way to avoiding loss of life or extensive damage to private property, it did provide the opportunity for reflection on the needs of the community to respond to a regional emergency.

As the main health, government, commercial and transportation service centre for an area larger than the Province of New Brunswick, the Town of High Level is uniquely located to provide emergency support services to a number of communities.

The construction of a Regional Emergency Reception Centre/Multiuse Facility will provide tremendous benefit recreationally, socially and culturally to a large portion of the population of Northwest Alberta and would serve an extensive area for emergency response and evacuation coordination. The Town of High Level has been working closely with the Dene Tha’ First Nation on this project that will benefit the residents of both communities. The facility will also directly benefit a significant population of residents of Mackenzie County.

The Town of High Level is looking for public feedback on a Multi-Use facility that would serve as a recreation centre intended for daily community use while serving as an evacuation and registration centre for the entire region during emergencies.

The two-story design would be attached to the High Level Public School and located on the current outdoor running track.

Current plans include:

Main floor

  • Emergency Centre/Fieldhouse can fit three basketball courts with room for temporary bleachers
  • Arena (ice rink and curling rink) with additional viewing areas and dressing rooms
  • Swimming Pool
  • Classrooms/fitness rooms
  • Retail spaces
  • Library
  • Daycare space
  • FCSS Office

Upper Level

  • Indoor track
  • Playhouse expansion (two stories)

This project is currently in the conceptual design phase and has taken into consideration all stakeholder feedback that we have received to date. The current design is based on previous wants and needs. The Town is looking at future expansion opportunities for the facility as well as the ability to host a second ice surface.

The estimated cost would be $61 million, which would not include the demolition of existing buildings or relocating the outdoor school running track.

The Town is pursuing funding through federal and provincial stimulus grants to fully fund construction of this facility with the goal of minimizing or eliminating any direct financial impacts on the residents of High Level.

May 14 Update:

There has been a large community response to the Town’s Survey to date, and we thank all those area residents who have taken the time to provide us with their valuable input on this project.

We have noticed a number of repeated questions come up in the responses, so we have decided to provide this update in an attempt to address those specific recurring questions.

Questions regarding location

A few locations were considered for the new complex; however, the deciding factor for attaching this facility to the high school was the access the schools would gain to the facility and the potential for the sharing of operating costs with the Fort Vermilion School Division.

FVSD is also working on a plan for increased parking for High Level Public School and Florence MacDougall Community School that would benefit the facility in this location.

Questions regarding proposed operating costs

The Town expects the operating costs would be similar to the current cost of operating recreational facilities. The current Sports Complex and Aquatic Centre are aging and are not particularly energy efficient; the new facility would have better insulation, common air handling systems, better heat recovery, etc.

A shared facility would decrease required staffing and the partnership with FVSD for use of the facility would both offset the Town’s cost of operations. We would also expect to see an increase in rentals, bookings, and leases with the new facility.

Questions regarding capital costs

The capital cost of the facility is intimidating, but the Town has attempted to project a highest possible cost taking into account historical construction costs, economic climate, local supply and expertise, etc. While projecting construction costs in our region is not an exact science, we believe we have considered most contingencies. 

The Town is working closely with both provincial and federal agencies and departments to secure funding for this facility. We are confident recently announced provincial and federal stimulus grants will minimize any direct financial impact to High Level residents.

In the event that we are unable to secure full funding for the project, there are several options open to the Town, including: decreasing the scope of the project, looking at sponsorship, or financing part of the project through a debenture. The Town will keep the public informed as funding for the construction of the project progresses.

Click the image to enlarge the site plan, main floor plan, and upper floor plan.  

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