Growing Active Amenities
Kelowna is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and as such we have a growing need for community recreation and leisure facilities. These facilities play an essential role in bringing people together - they are safe places for people of all ages and backgrounds to stay connected, be active, learn a new skill, and belong.
Council endorsed the Functional Program for the redevelopment of PRC on April 17, 2023. As part of the PRC redevelopment discussions, the City’s program delivery model and its combination of centralized and decentralized amenity provision that provides broad community reach and access to important facilities and programming has been highlighted. Activity Centres become key facilities within this model with a strong neighbourhood focus.
During the Council review of the Indoor Recreation Facilities Strategy and 10-year Capital Plan Workshop (Buildings), advancing the planning and delivery of the Glenmore and Mission Activity Centres were identified as priorities. In addition, the optimisation of sports fields at Rutland Recreation Park is proposed as a priority in the 10-year Capital Plan (Parks) workshop.
On May 15, 2023, Council approved a financial strategy for growing these active amenities in Kelowna including the design and construction of the redevelopment of PRC, Mission Activity Centre, Glenmore Activity Center, the optimization of the Rutland Sportsfields and community partnership opportunities.
Activity centres are important program sites that connect a neighbourhood through low-barrier, accessible programs and spaces. Currently the City operates centres at Parkinson and Rutland parks - the new centres will feature a variety of general interest programs for all ages as well as a gathering place for celebrations and childcare services.
As part of the redevelopment of the Parkinson Recreation Centre and Parkinson Recreation Park site, there are several important amenities that contribute to the overall user experience, including:
- Unique spaces for people of all ages and abilities to recreate and be ‘Active for Life’
- Social spaces which serve as the ‘community living room’ with sufficiently sized lobby and additional social spaces scattered throughout
- Integration with the outdoors to make full use of the park setting
- A kitchen for community programs, capable of supporting large-scale events
- Event-hosting support space capable of hosting indoor and outdoor tournaments
- Appropriately sized and equipped amenities (ie, gymnasia, pools) to accommodate competitive sports
- Space for swimming that: engages the needs of health and wellness users, recreational users and meets the standards for aquatic sports; has a strong focus on wellness amenities; has a pool that is appropriately sized and can be flexible enough to provide different programming options
- Space focused on youth and space dedicated to childcare
Growing active amenities includes optimization of fields in Rutland. This includes the consideration of an addition of a new grass field, with space for a potential second in the future, and converting the central field to artificial turf with lighting.
With Council prioritizing keeping tax increases for residents stable, and predictable, the approved financial strategy anticipates less than a 5 per cent increase each year for the total City budget and does not negatively impact other planned projects.
Active amenities are important community assets that will provide much-needed recreational opportunities for residents of the City of Kelowna. However, the creation of these facilities requires significant financial investment, and the City of Kelowna must carefully consider how it will fund their construction and ongoing operations within the context of the overall City’s growth priorities.
By combining capital taxation funding, reserve applications, grant funding, a new endowment funding model for use of legacy funds, and debt, the City of Kelowna can ensure the financial sustainability of the project while also providing much-needed recreational opportunities for residents.
This funding strategy uses debt financing for 84 per cent of total project costs, $241.32 million, and a combination of reserve, grant, and taxation funding to fund the remaining $46.18 million. To fund the debt servicing costs of the borrowing, the recommended strategy uses reserve, grant, and taxation funding, as well as new revenues expected from the City’s legacy funds as part of the new endowment funding model.
Community partnership opportunities will be based on Letters of Intent that have been signed with Okanagan College, University of British Columbia Okanagan, and Central Okanagan Public Schools (School District 23) to support collaboration on future projects.
Community amenities are worth investing in
Active amenities like recreation centres and activity centres belong to everyone and offer safe places where everyone belongs. These facilities strive to be completely barrier-free, and offer numerous benefits to users and non-users alike.
Active amenities are vital to a healthy City by enabling and increasing participation in community sport, recreation, physical activity, cultural, social and creative pursuits that enhance individual and community wellbeing. By creating a positive atmosphere, these local facilities become essential to personal health and wellness, thereby reducing reliance on healthcare and other costly social services. In turn, recreation boosts local economy and can also help contribute to overall economic development. Active amenities help build strong, safe and inclusive communities; social interaction, volunteerism and civic pride.
PRC is more than a building to so many people in our community– for decades, it’s been a place for people to move, grow, thrive, learn and belong. Investing in the redevelopment of PRC is in an investment in the wellbeing of our community for decades to come.
Originally constructed in 1972, PRC is a full-service, multi-use space that has undergone several upgrades and renovations through the years and is now reaching the end of its service life. The current facility is in poor condition, inefficient and undersized. The facility will require a multi-million dollar investment to remain in service and analysis shows that developing a new recreation campus is a better strategic investment for Kelowna’s future than retrofitting and renovating the existing facility any further.
The redevelopment Parkinson Recreation Centre has been identified as priority in the 10-year Capital Plan for over a decade and is recognized as a unique opportunity for delivering a landmark wellness facility that will serve our community for generations.
Getting it right
Investing in the redevelopment of PRC is a rare opportunity and it is important for us to get it right. The “Getting it Right” functional program will form the design of this landmark facility and has been the output of over a decade of conversation and study. Read the Getting it Right report and the 2022 engagement summary.
2011: Infrastructure Planning Study - PRC redevelopment identified as the City's top priority project
2013: PRC Space Program Study - Program area spaces and configurations were identified
In May 2013, City Council received the Sport and Recreation Infrastructure Report outlining Kelowna’s sport and recreation facility requirements to 2031. The 18-month study was to result in a responsible and cost-effective development strategy that ensures the City’s sport and recreation facility portfolio is able to meet current and future community needs for the next two decades. Further, the strategic development of the required facilities was to conform to the vision, commitments, principles and strategic imperatives that guide the delivery of Kelowna’s parks, recreation and cultural services. The report’s evaluation analysis identified that the City’s top priority project should be the redevelopment of the Parkinson Recreation Campus.
2015: Space Feasibility Study - Redevelopment options and building configuration were evaluated and identified
PRC’s scheduling and programming protocols are maximizing the use of the facility and are satisfying the needs of as many individuals and groups as possible. The addition of the new Parkinson Activity Centre (PAC) to the Parkinson site increased the appeal and profile of the Parkinson Recreation Campus to the extent that the combined facilities have enlarged PRC’s capture area such that it serves a number of regional sport, recreation and leisure needs. This expanded “draw” has elevated the number of Kelowna residents who patronize Parkinson Recreation Park’s combined facilities, thereby putting increased pressure on PRC’s facilities and programs. It was identified through an initial functional programming analysis that a future recreation facility at Parkinson Recreation Park should provide more programmable space to increase the user capacity beyond what is available in the existing facility.
2021: Functional Program Update - Capacity and usage requirements were identified
2022 +: Capital costing & detailed planning - Total project costs estimated will be established and detailed designs will be produced
Engagement to date
The following guiding principles were established as the backbone for prioritizing program needs, informing site configuration and to be used as a barometer to measure success as the project progresses through design and construction through to operations:
1. People-focused amenities
- Focus on wellness and healthy living opportunities.
- Encourage multi-generational integration.
- Create a centre of excellence for health, recreation, culture and sport for all.
- Facilitate new sport tourism opportunities.
2. Good stewards of public resources
- Optimizing amenities and programming while being fiscally responsible and balancing cost containment.
- Demonstrate leadership in responsibly building a thriving community with healthy, engaged citizens of a global society.
- Minimize operation interruptions of existing sports fields and recreation centre.
- Maintain the integrity and contiguous nature of the sports fields.
3. Innovative leadership
- Create a precedent-setting facility with respect to design and sustainability.
- Challenge expectations with bold innovation throughout the project.
- Foster community inclusivity, pride and ownership.
4. Cultivate partnerships
- Optimize opportunities for partnership with SD23 on the adjacent property.
- Facilitate collaboration with other partners who share values and objectives.
- Engage with the Indigenous community for collaboration opportunities.
- Deliver a facility that demonstrates the City’s commitment to responding to climate change through leadership in sustainable design and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- Optimize sustainable design using unique site opportunities while respecting the boundaries of the Mill Creek floodplain.
- Incorporates multi-modal transportation opportunities, including improving connectivity through enhancing trail networks, considering the proximity to transit routes.
- Create pedestrian campus feel, with safety and security in mind.
Located in a 48-acre park in a dense urban setting, the future Kelowna community campus is a unique opportunity for delivering a landmark facility that will help shape the future of Kelowna. The site features the Apple Bowl and numerous sport fields, is bisected by Mill Creek, and is adjacent to the site of a future school.
The surrounding neighbourhood is predicted to be one of the fastest-growing in the city. In addition to the residential population, the Parkinson Recreation Centre (PRC) will also serve one of the densest districts for employment in the city.
The central location and proximity to several urban centres are served well by many walking, cycling, and transit routes running through or near the site. The Okanagan Rail Trail runs immediately adjacent to the site. Active transportation connections will be further enhanced with the Mill Creek Linear Park running through the site, Lawrence Avenue active transportation corridor (ATC) to downtown, the Sutherland Avenue ATC extension, and Glenmore Road active transportation improvements. The Rapid Transit and several other major bus routes are also immediately adjacent to the site.
Current facility components include a leisure pool, gymnasium, cardiovascular fitness and weight training rooms, multiple convertible program and activities rooms, a banquet room, offices and a lobby. External spaces immediately surrounding the facility are also frequently used by pop-up markets or events.
Outdoor amenity space includes a large number of sports fields, sport courts, playgrounds and track and field facilities.
The demand on these amenities is only expected to grow as we do. A new campus would contain enhanced versions of many of the same amenities and would also accommodate uses and programming opportunities that the current facility and park cannot.
|New facility - estimated change in size from PRC||What’s included|
|Athletic Program||5x larger||Enhanced fitness centre and multi-gym complex to host competitions and recreational activities. Change from one gym to three|
|Aquatic Program||1.2x larger||Aquatic centre suitable for instruction, training and leisure activities including aquatic space for rehabilitation purposes. Change from 6 swimming lanes to a minimum of 8 lanes|
|Athletic/Aquatic Support||1.5x larger||Change rooms, washrooms, equipment storage|
|Customer Service/Admin/General Program||4x larger||Multipurpose spaces to meet a wide range of user needs, including: entry, reception, public gathering areas, staff offices and administration areas, community rooms, and general program areas|
|Building Operations||1.3x larger||Operations, mechanical and electrical areas|
|Overall site||2.6x larger|
Complimentary tenants, partner space or collaboration with adjacent landowner School District #23 will also be explored for the potential benefit of integrating education, recreation, health, and wellness opportunities in a campus to enhance community of Kelowna and to optimize operations and revenue of the new facility.