The Regional District of Nanaimo is currently soliciting submissions from qualified and experienced firms or individuals to provide concept design work and a project planning document for the expansion of the Ravensong Aquatic Centre.
The proposed expansion plan for the pool will include addition of a second 25-metre tank and expand change rooms of the centre, located in a property in Qualicum Beach that the RDN is leasing from the town until 2034.
The upgrades to the Ravensong pool has long been overdue. User groups and individuals have been rallying to improve the space are of the pool and alleviate the overcrowding conditions that are now occuring at the centre.
The pool expansion has been identified as a priority in the 2006-2016 Recreation Services Master Plan. A feasibility study was completed in 2007 but it was not pursued. It was brought up again in 2009 and the RDN commissioned architectural design work that presented two cost options — $6,400,000 and $7,100,000. But the plan was shelved again as the need to perform remediation work on the pool was needed and it cost $4,800,000.
In 2013, HCMA Architecture was hired to update the cost estimates, as well as operating and capital budgets of an expanded aquatic centre. The cost of the two options increased to to $7,200,000 and $7,900,000. No further work or discussions were conducted.
The pool upgrades was again identified as a priority in the 2019-2029 Recreation Services Master Plan for District 69 last year and the RDN board endorsed it in 2018.
The Oceanside Services Commission, which was formed this year to replace the District 69 Recreation Commission, recommended and was endorsed by the RDN board last May, that staff complete a concept design and project planning including community review, cost estimation and funding sources to expand Ravensong Aquatic Centre.
Since all concept design and project planning to date have occurred within the existing leased space, earlier this year, in March, the Town of Qualicum Beach informed the RDN that expansion outside the leased area is possible.
The RDN has budgeted $290,000 this year for Ravensong pool expansion planning, design and also for a referendum.