Proposed Multi-Use Recreation Facility

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Please note that the image of the multiplex above will no longer reflect the final design of the facility.

The Town of Edson and Yellowhead County are embarking on a historic joint project.

Following many years of public input and facility studies, our communities have come together to start work on a new Multi-Use Recreational Facility.  The facility is planned to  include 2 NHL sized ice surfaces, a 4 sheet curling rink, court space, running track, fitness area, and a new pool area with a lazy river.

Conceptual plans have been completed on the estimated $70-million project and a site has been selected. After much review, a site north of the Hillendale subdivision in Edson has been chosen. The capital cost for the project is being split 50-50 between the Town and County.

In December 2020, the Recreation Facility Project Management Contract was awarded to Turnbull Construction Project Managers.

In 2021, the project team and project managers requested Expressions of Interest from qualified Design-Build contractors who were qualified to design and construct the project. 

**Update April 19, 2022

The Town of Edson and Yellowhead County are discussing the next steps for the project.

The Steering Committee met in April to review two submissions received through the Request for Proposal process which closed on March 25, 2022. The submissions were priced well over budget at $84,350,000 and $90,820,000, not including administrative costs for the municipalities. Unfortunately, supply issues, commodity prices, labour shortages and other international factors hampered the proponents’ efforts to remain within the firm $58 million construction budget target.

As such, both bids were rejected and both municipal Councils, as well as the project Steering Committee, plan to meet to determine alternative paths forward to ensure an equivalent facility is developed for the community.

Recent Releases and Information

**All items below could be adjusted depending on the next steps decided for the project.

Site Selection

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The Town of Edson and Yellowhead County Councils have selected a new site for the Multi-Use Recreation Facility Project.

Multi-Use Facility Site Selection Update (Feb 25, 2020)

Multi-Use Facility Site Selection Presentation (Feb 25th, 2020)

On Tuesday (February 25th, 2020), both councils held meetings and have confirmed a site north of the Hillendale subdivision as the official location for the new project moving forward.

During a Steering Committee meeting, committee members were given a presentation from Stantec on potential sites for the project. Three sites were reviewed for the project; the Hillendale location, the current Repsol Place site, and Griffiths Park. This review of multiple site options came from recent geotechnical findings that would result in increased development costs of the Griffiths Park location. With the increased costs at that site, the steering committee felt that a new review of all reasonable options was necessary.

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Stantec’s recommendation was the new site north Hillendale as the Town of Edson owns a large piece of land in that area. This new site offers many of the same benefits as Griffiths Park but is more suitable for this new facility. Stantec found that the Hillendale location would be less costly, the project timeline wouldn’t be impacted, and there would be fewer disruptions to service.

The development cost for an entirely new facility at the existing Repsol Place site would have been approximately $8-9 million more than building a brand-new facility at the Hillendale site. It was also determined that utilizing the Repsol Place location would add 12-18 months to the project’s construction timeline compared to the Hillendale site.

The project scope, budget, and timeline remain the same, and both municipalities remain committed to moving this project forward.

Updated Tax Impact Estimate

The Town of Edson Council and Administration remain committed to minimizing the tax impact of the joint Multi-Use Facility project. During September 10th Committee of the Whole meeting, Edson Town Council received an update on those efforts.

See the full press release here

The initial tax impact numbers were based on the highest operational cost estimates and largest amount of capital needing to be borrowed. With further review of actual operational costs of similar facilities, and by adjusting the capital funding plan, it’s expected that the tax impact will be substantially less than the original estimate. Some of the changes to the calculation are as follows:

  • Operational Deficit projections from $3.5 million to $2 million - Further research into similar facilities showed operational deficits of less than $2 million.
  • Borrowing $9 million, down from the original $15 million. This was accomplished by planning to use more savings from the Revenue Sharing Agreement with Yellowhead County over a longer period of time, as well as the substantial grant money from the Federal and Provincial Governments.
  • Calculations now reflect the current lower interest rates.

*Every $1 million needing to be borrowed adds an average of $15 to the tax implications for a home assessed at $350,000.

Overall, this means the potential tax impact for Town of Edson residents is estimated at about $150 per year for an average residential or business property with an assessment of $350,000. 

This does not mean the work is over. Both partners will continue efforts to seek out grant and sponsorship opportunities, which could bring that impact down even further.

Tax Comparisons

Results of the Regional Multi-Use Recreation Facility Survey have been released. Along with the support breakdown for the project, the survey revealed a perception that taxes in Edson are high compared to other municipalities. Research has shown this is not the case. In fact, when taking taxes and municipal utilities into account, Edson is well below average for similar communities. See the comparison chart below.

Average Annual Municipal Cost Comparisons

Average Annual Municipal Cost Comparisons (With Multi-Use Facility)

Tax and utility rate comparisons are done annually to ensure the Town of Edson is competitive with our area municipalities.

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Average Annual Municipal Cost Comparisons (2019)

Projected Cost Breakdown

The capital cost of this project is being cost-shared 50-50 between the Town of Edson and Yellowhead County.

$20 million of this project is being funded through a Federal Infrastructure Canada Grant.

The remaining $50 million of this proposed $70 million project will come from a combination of Provincial Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grant money and municipal funding (approx. $25 million Yellowhead County and County MSI grants / approx. $25 million Town of Edson and Edson MSI funding).

The operational split will be 60-40 Town-County based on an operational agreement being drafted.

Tax impact estimates have been revised as Council and Administration continue to work on lowering costs to residents. Original estimates were based on "worst case" situations for both capital financing and operational deficits. This has been updated by revising the capital plan and getting more realistic numbers for operations based on similar facilities.

With this in mind, The Town of Edson plans to use a combination of $26-million in savings and $9-million in borrowed money to cover our portion of the construction costs. This means Edson residents and business owners can expect to see an increase in taxes to cover the cost of the borrowed funds and anticipated operational expenses.

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Based on today’s interest rates and expected operational costs, Edson taxpayers will see an estimated $42.70 increase in taxes yearly per $100,000 in assessment.

For an average household of $350,000 it would equate an approximate increase of $150 per year…about $12.50 a month.

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To break it down even further, for about $0.41 per day, Edson will gain a first-class recreational facility that will fit the needs of our community for decades to come.

Check out our online calculator below (Town Residents and Businesses ONLY) to get your own personalized estimate based on your property assessment.

*Note. This Calculator uses 2019 millrates and a higher interest rate than is expected.

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The estimated tax impact calculations include both capital borrowing costs as well as operational cost estimates.

The operational impact, about $26 per year for the average $350,000 in assessment, would be ongoing for the life of the facility.

The capital tax impact, about $124 per year for the average $350,000 in assessment, would last for the 30 year borrowing term.

Tax Impact Calculator

Edson residents and businesses ONLY

2006 – 2007 – “Conrad Report” – Detailed facility study and public consultation conducted by Paul Conrad and Associates indicate a multi-use complex is a priority for a majority of the public in and around Edson.

Spring 2017 - Public Engagement began for the joint Edson and Area Community Services Strategic Plan. The report was to focus on

  • Parks and Recreation
  • Arts and Culture
  • Museums and Archives
  • Library Services

Surveys were conducted and Open Houses held, as well as a real focus at the Trade Show that year.  Nearly 800 households participated.

September 2017 – Edson and Area Community Services Strategic Plan Final report complete (Volume 1 / Volume 2)

Some key findings

The community is at a key decision point: The municipalities find themselves at a crossroads of opportunity – a time when existing facilities are at or are approaching end of life and will need replacing or refurbishing, when solid growth is expected in the region and population requirements will increase, and when renewed co-operation makes it possible to join resources and plans

And a Fundamental Choice: The choice is whether to invest in the maintenance of existing infrastructure or use this opportunity to think broadly and reframe the offerings for future generations.

Strong support for a new community complex: Citizens are remarkably aligned in their comments, both in defining need and determining the next step.  There is strong support for a new multi-purpose community centre and a recognition that there will be a need to develop and implement a reasonable funding strategy involving multiple partners

Recommendations have been developed to deal with four areas:

  • A multi-purpose community centre;
  • Consolidation of existing facilities;
  • Changes in programming; and
  • Joint management of future facilities and programs

April 2018 - Memorandum of Understanding reached between Town of Edson and Yellowhead County for the construction of a new facility.

The agreement

  • A 50‐50 cost share in the capital costs of a new facility,
  • A 60‐40 Town‐County split in operational costs,
  • Each partner will have an equal say in operations, and
  • An operational agreement to be drafted as the process moves forward.

October 2018 – Edson and YC Council’s award tender for architectural services for the Multi-Use Facility to Stantec Architecture of Edmonton.

The amenities that are included for consideration in this project are:

  • Two standard ice rinks with boards
  • Aquatics facility - minimum 6 lane/25-meter pool, child pool, lazy river, waterslide, hot tub, and sauna/steam room
  • 4 sheet curling surface
  • Gymnasium - multi-sport court – basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, pickleball etc.
  • Walking track and a fitness area - studio room(s), area for weights and equipment etc.
  • Adequate storage to support each service area
  • Basic skate sharpening/pro shop and food service provision areas

The additional features that may be considered for including as part of the facility are a:

  • Climbing wall
  • Indoor playground
  • Multi-use rooms/meeting spaces
  • Seating capacity in the aquatics facility (preferably mobile/temporary)
  • FCSS Parent Link Centre
  • Leisure skating pond
  • Lease space-additional food service – e.g. Booster Juice, Tim Horton’s, Dairy Queen, restaurant/lounge, etc.
  • Lease space - private paramedical services (i.e. physiotherapy, chiropractic, etc.), Boy & Girls Club, Primary Care Network
  • Teen drop-in area

February 2019 – The joint Town of Edson and Yellowhead County Steering Committee agreed to the project scope, location, timeline, and cost of the proposed Multi-Use Recreation Complex to be constructed in Edson, at Griffiths Park. The chosen location will be ideal for future expansion and parking considerations.

The project is estimated to cost $70 million. After a thorough review process, the facility’s detailed design is planned to commence in late 2019 and construction anticipated to commence in 2022.

The Steering Committee is confident that the timelines set out for this project will allow our communities to gauge and plan fiscally—so that this exciting new initiative can be accommodated with limited tax implications.

April 2019 – The Steering Committee announced the commencement of a detailed geotechnical review of the Griffiths Park site, as well as some public information sessions. Edson Trade Show – April 26-27 and an Open House at the Galloway Station Museum May 9th.

June/July 2019 - RC Strategies conducted a Regional Multi-Use Recreation Facility Survey to gather input on the project, as well as support based on the anticipated tax implications. The survey was sent out to all Town of Edson tax rolls.

August 2019 - Edson Town Council reviewed the Multi-Use Facility Survey results. In total 716 responses were gathered from the 3,106 postcards that were sent out. This represents a response rate of approximately 23%.

2019 Multi-Use Facility Survey Report

September 2019 - Updated tax implication numbers were presented to Council based on an adjusted capital plan and more realistic operational cost estimates. Original operational estimates were found to be quite high when compared to actual data obtained from other similar facilities.

Communications plans surrounding the project were also presented to Council at the September 10th Committee of the Whole meeting.

January 2020 - Detailed geotechnical studies at Griffiths Park site indicate increased development costs of the Griffiths Park location. With the increased costs at that site, the steering committee felt that a new review of all reasonable options was necessary.

February 2020 - The Town of Edson and Yellowhead County Councils have selected a new site for the Multi-Use Recreation Facility Project. Both Councils confirmed a site north of the Hillendale subdivision as the official location for the new project moving forward.

December 2020 - Turnbull Construction Project Managers was awarded the Recreation Facility Project Management Contract.

March 2021 - Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) was posted for Design Build Contractors

May 2021 - The Town and County narrowed the Design Build Contractor list to three proponent teams: Clark Builders & TBD Architecture + Urban Planning, EllisDon & Stantec + HCMA, and PCL & GEC Architecture.

April 2022 - Both the Town of Edson and Yellowhead County rejected the 2 proposals brought forth due to budget concerns. The Steering Committee will meet to discuss next steps to move the project forward.

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Detailed Design - Detailed design work is underway in 2021

Construction - timeline delayed due to bids coming in over budget. More details expected once the Steering Committee meets.

Why not just build on the current site?

  • Simply put, the current site is not large enough to accommodate the facility plans. Even moving the parking to Water Tower Park wouldn't leave enough space to build the type of facility the community has asked for. There would be no room to add curling and arenas would need to fit under the existing footprint. This means Memorial would remain as a non-contact arena as the refurbishment would be limited to working within the existing structural and space constraints.
  • Construction would need to be built in phases, causing service disruptions. This would add at least another year to the construction phase and mean shutting down the arenas and pool for extended times during construction.
  • The new site allows for future facility expansion and/or community development in the area.
  • Easier access off hwy 748.

Will there be more public feedback opportunities?

  • Much of the public input for this project was completed in 2017 with the Edson and Area Community Services Strategic Plan. At that time, user groups were consulted and nearly 800 households (representing approximately 2686 people) from across Edson and Yellowhead County provided feedback to help us shape the core of this Multi-Use Facility design. More information on the study can be found in the History section above.

    At this time the conceptual design and financial implications are being shared with the public.

Why is there such a long timeline before construction starts?

  • The facility’s detailed design is planned to commence in 2019 and construction is anticipated to commence in late 2022. This gives both partners more time to put money away for the project and plan for operational cost adjustments. Savings made now mean less that has to be borrowed and less impact of taxes for our residents.

Contact Information / Steering Committee

To contact the Steering Committee please forward any correspondence to the respective Chief Administrative Officers Luc Mercier (County) or Christine Beveridge (Town). The information will then be provided to the Steering Committee for review.

The following is a list of Steering Committee members for the project.

  • Wade Williams (County)
  • Anthony Giezen (County)
  • Dawn Mitchell (County)
  • Luc Mercier (County CAO - Advisory)
  • Kevin Zahara (Town)
  • Krystal Baier (Town)
  • Greg Pasychny (Town)
  • Christine Beveridge (Town CAO -Advisory)