These are the current plans (3 plans can be found below-scroll down) for the proposed building expansion project, based on Community feedback to date. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Nick Barnes, our Site Development Director, at email@example.com
Our Community has grown immensely since the Community Centre was initially constructed in 1998 and the building is substantially under-sized to meet current needs. In addition, we need to increase programming so that revenues can support the hiring of full-time management staff, rather than relying on volunteers. Our “sister” community centre at Linden Woods provides a good template of the path we need to move down. They have a fully functional gymnasium and a facility manager.
However, the process is complex and the capital costs are high and so in order to obtain the necessary expertise we retained Harold Funk Architects Inc. (HFA) in 2014 to assist us with the following:
- Conduct an assessment of applicable zoning by-laws and regulations and an architectural assessment of existing facility and site conditions;
- Conduct an initial round of community consultation, including consultation with the Whyte Ridge Board of Directors, to help identify programming and facility needs;
- Develop conceptual drawings that will satisfy the various zoning by-laws, regulations and planning requirements;
- Conduct a second round of community consultation to present concept drawings to gain input from the community, and revise drawings as necessary based on feedback; and
- Submit final conceptual drawings and reports, including cost estimates.
A key component of the process was Community participation through attendance at the Community workshops to provide an opportunity to discuss in detail the space program requirements, characteristics of the building as a whole and potential phasing.
HFA used the process to help them evaluate the following:
- Expectations of stakeholders and area residents;
- Current site development, zoning /by-law requirements, placement of the building, orientation, existing building, wind and sunlight considerations, etc.;
- Building program: the required functional spaces both current programming and future programming including support spaces;
- Facility as a whole: how the building will operate and function;
- Potential for revenue growth through a variety of rental spaces;
- Anticipated costs of the building implemented;
- Manitoba Green Building Policy and potential Manitoba Power Smart incentives.”
Based on their assessment HFA developed the conceptual design and plan for proceeding with this project.
While owned by the City, the Community Centre belongs to the residents of Whyte Ridge and much of the revenue used to implement projects is generated by Community sports and recreation programs such as soccer and basketball and the registration fees paid by residents. The WRCC Constitution includes the following clause: “To communicate with the residents of the Community so as to determine their needs for recreational and leisure activities, and to ensure that they are aware of the activities and programs being offered by the Centre.” Therefore, we feel it is essential that the Community understand what is being planned and has an opportunity to provide comments and suggestions. The Spirit is one mechanism for communication, the website is another, and one or more workshops will be held prior to decisions being made.
One of the important communication tools that have been used to help guide the development of the Community Centre is a formal Community survey, and there have been five surveys undertaken to date, in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2014. The intent of the surveys has been to gauge existing and future interests in sports and recreation activities, primarily as an input to developing site infrastructure, but also on how the existing facility is or could be used.
During the 2002 survey, the Community Centre consisted only of the main building and a single hockey rink. The top site development choices at this time focused on the development of the largely unused grounds, including a full soccer field, recreational skating rink, second hockey rink, play structure and landscaping (all now implemented). While the concept of a larger building was not offered as an option in the survey at this time there was concern expressed about the small size of the building; that it was too small for many events and that consideration should be given to expansion.
From 2003 to 2006 the Board developed a much better understanding of the needs and challenges of site development and surveys provided in 2003 and 2005 were very similar. In these surveys, the concept of a larger indoor space was introduced. While a number of residents expressed an interest in expanding the building to allow for indoor sports and activities, the priorities at that time were still focused on developing space for outdoor activities, and building expansion was ranked lower than the trail network, basketball court, play structure, landscaping, natural areas – all of which have now been constructed.
In 2009 a web-based community survey focused more on gauging interest in the development of more indoor space. The gymnasium was the highest-ranking request in the survey, followed by outdoor events such as a carnival and concert, then an expanded multi-purpose room and fitness classes, with an interest expressed in adult sports, including tennis and badminton, as well as indoor soccer.
Less than half of the respondents in the 2013 web-based survey were satisfied with the current availability of sports and recreation opportunities and services – mainly due to limited space for a community the size of Whyte Ridge, particularly in comparison to the facilities now available at the Linden Woods Community Centre. Almost all of the respondents were in favour of building expansion, with reasons including more opportunities for different sports to be played all year, more activities for teens and young families, accommodating winter basketball/indoor soccer, expanded programming, and additional revenue generation. In addition to many positive comments, there were several important concerns expressed, such as the risk of losing the soccer fields, and the impact on views and property values to adjacent residents. These comments highlight the need for a very interactive process as concepts are developed, in order to make sure Community Members receive information and have an opportunity to voice any concerns so that efforts can be made to mitigate them wherever possible.
The 2014 survey had 42 respondents. Most respondents (92%) were in favour of adding to/renovating the community centre. The majority have lived in the community for 5-15 years, with the main age groups being primarily 30-55 and 5-15. Most (80%) are aware of the various programs currently available, through the newsletter, website or Facebook. Most (66%) drive to the community centre and most (46%) come seasonally, for soccer games or hockey, although 20-30% visit either weekly or monthly. Approximately half of the respondents use other community centers, primarily for hockey, but most feel that community centre is convenient for most activities. In general, respondents rated the community centre as “average” for children, teens, and adults, and while there were few responses for seniors those that did felt it was poor to average. Most respondents indicated that they would like to see more indoor activities, such as soccer, basketball, dance, exercise, and martial arts. They indicated that in the past they used the community centre for skating, hockey, soccer, fitness classes, and social events such as birthday parties. The majority of respondents (60%) ranked current programs/events as “average”, with suggestions for improvements including larger indoor space, better washroom facilities, more programs, teen drop-in/dances, and a splash pad. Half (52%) of the respondents thought the current building functionality was “average”, with suggestions for larger more comfortable indoor spaces. One respondent was concerned that the priority should be to try to get more volunteers and make small changes before taking on a huge project. The majority of respondents (68%) also felt the existing facility was not very visible, very small, dated and shabby, with limited amenities that did not reflect the vibrant, bustling, upscale community. As indicated, most respondents (92%) were in favour of adding to/renovating the community centre. One respondent was concerned that having it too big might be negative and perhaps the focus should be on smaller improvements in the short term until there is more volunteer support. Respondents suggested that there could be improved seating, a play area for toddlers/babies, renovated washrooms, larger indoor space, improved heating in the winter, a bigger kitchen, and an improved loading area. Most respondents agreed that common/comfortable observation spaces would encourage people to stay longer (e.g., parents during children’s hockey and skate with Santa events). The majority of respondents (75%) preferred changes to focus on durable/easy maintenance interiors and natural-looking exteriors. In terms of the anticipated use of the new community centre, most respondents indicated that it should be for hockey and soccer and fitness classes, followed by basketball, youth drop-in, and dance, then a daycare and racquet sports, among others.