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Thursday, September 24, 2015

The sights and sounds of a new recreation facility

The year 2016 will be particularly special for southeast Calgarians who have a major need of recreation facilities in their communities. After years of engagement, planning, designing and constructing four new recreation facilities in southeast and northwest Calgary, the opening of two of those facilities are close to reality.

Rendering of the new Quarry Park Recreation Facility, opening 2016
I am so excited for the residents of Ogden, Riverbend, Quarry Park, Douglasdale/Glen, who will soon experience how the new Quarry Park Recreation Facility will make their community more complete. On the surface, the immediate impact will be better access to the recreation, sport, leisure and learning amenities these communities helped us identify would best serve their needs, but there is much more these facilities will bring.

Rendering of the view from the main lobby of the new
Great Plains Recreation Facility, opening 2016
The best way to describe how recreation can elevate a community is to describe the sights and sounds you’ll experience as you walk through the front door. Perhaps you’re picking up your child from daycare or from a class. You’ll recognize other parents from your neighbourhood doing the exact same thing and there is a chance to meet, converse and strengthen those connections. Around you is a steady flow of movement - some people carrying gym bags are headed to a fitness class, others are coming out enriched from the new full-service library. Around you are the sounds of a bouncing basketball, splashes from the leisure and lap pools, and footsteps from the running track above.

Further east and just north of Glenmore Trail at the Great Plains recreation facility, two multi-sport ice rinks will serve the competitive and leisure enthusiasts of ice sports. But great attention was also paid to make sure this would be a social experience for the fans. Among the familiar swoosh of blades gliding over the ice, there are plenty of spaces outside of the traditional seating areas where parents, grandparents and supporters can keep one eye on the ice while enjoying a conversation and connecting in a shared love of sport.

These are the wonderful experiences I have come across time and time again in my 35-year career working with City-owned recreation facilities. In the next 12 months or so as the Quarry Park and Great Plains facilities are used for the first time, I look forward to seeing the strengthened relationships, enriched families and a more active, vibrant and complete community for southeast Calgarians.

About the Author

Rob McAuley began his career with The City of Calgary 35 years ago in Aquatics. He is currently the manager of the New Recreation Facilities Project which is responsible for developing four new recreation facilities in Quarry Park, Great Plains, Seton and Rocky Ridge.

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  1. I'm wondering if solar power was ever considered during the design of these new recreation centres? I heard this week that Southland Rec centre will be trialing the use of solar panels for power, but given we live in such a sun-rich part of the world, I hope this solution was at least discussed beforehand, and won't cost the taxpayers a huge amount as an afterthought.

    1. Hi Andy, yes solar power was considered during the design phase of the new recreation facilities and an energy evaluation determined cogeneration was the most energy-efficient solution for these type of facilities. Cogeneration generates both electricity and heat at the same time, and is efficient enough to provide the electric power and thermal energy needed to run all the amenities in each facility, including pools.

  2. I love the new facilities in and around Calgary. There seems to be a parking problem with most when the masses come to enjoy them.