The gameplan for the future of Saskatoon's parks and recreation facilities is starting to take shape.
Saskatoon councillors were presented the Recreation and Parks Master Plan during a special meeting Wednesday. Director of Recreation and Community Development Lynne Lacroix says there are a number of gaps that need to be addressed over the next 5 to 7 years, including a new arena, indoor children's playground spaces, arts and culture program spaces and sports field complexes. Lacroix also notes they need to build a new leisure centre to cover a quickly developing east side of Saskatoon. Seven groups presented to City Council their proposals for partnerships with the city to build various recreation facilities, from an outdoor track facility at Gordie Howe Bowl to a year-round lacrosse facility and even an 8,200 seat soccer stadium to attract a professional soccer team. However, Lacroix says it's also important to focus on the leisure and recreation centres currently in place. She says some of them need various upgrades to adapt to changing times. For example, Lacroix says the dressing rooms in hockey arenas were designed in the 80's for players with smaller hockey bags, but with advances in technology and the requirement for more equipment, locker rooms are now too small in some arenas and parking lots fill up quicker than they did 30 years ago. The city currently sets aside a small portion of leisure facility replacement values each year towards a comprehensive maintenance reserve. Lacroix says the city needs to have at least $92.2 million over the next 11 years to address the facility gaps in Saskatoon. Council will hear an updated report in the next 3 to 6 months.