Q. What will a renewed and revitalized Sportsplex be like?
A. A renewed and revitalized Sportsplex will be an exciting addition to the Halifax Regional Municipality. After an external study by an independent consultant, Asbell Management Innovation, including considerable community consultation, both with current facility users and those who are currently not using the facility, a number of specific needs were identified.
There is an immediate need for a community gymnasium and the concept plan for the revitalized Sportsplex includes a full size double gymnasium with a free play area. This new facility will create the opportunity to offer a large variety of new programs and services that are simply not available right now in this area of HRM. Sportsplex will be able to host youth learn to play programs such as basketball, badminton, floor hockey or volleyball. Youth, adults and families will have opportunities for unstructured play as well as options for improved gymnastics and other group fitness programs. A gymnasium space will allow a new line of summer sport specific day camp programs for children and young athletes that currently are not available outside of the peninsular of HRM. Finally, the gym will offer Dartmouth a facility to host several new kinds of sports tournaments and training events.
The current fitness centre located on the lower level of the facility does not meet the standards of our customers and fails to offer the services and equipment people are looking for. It is also too small to offer the variety of program options people are looking for. A new fitness centre will create a fun, exciting and welcoming place for people to come and exercise. New specialty equipment will provide all people, regardless of age or ability, with an opportunity to challenge themselves and improve their physical health. Included in the revitalized Sportsplex would be a youth facility providing specialized equipment designed and built for youth and in a space that they will ‘own’ and be motivating for them to participate in. Opportunities will also be available to offer sport specific training programs for athletes of all ages, abilities and disciplines.
Increased studio space is another key component of a renewed and revitalized Sportsplex. Currently we are unable to offer sufficient fitness classes at key times to meet the needs of the public. We are also unable to offer programming such as spinning, specific sport training or a greater variety of educational seminars. Finally we do not have sufficient space to meet the needs for dance or youth fitness. This has resulted in a significant loss of business over the past several years. This loss of business results in reduced revenues and therefore higher fees for existing users to compensate for lost revenue.
Renovations to the pool will include the addition of an in-ground, wheelchair accessible therapeutic whirlpool, an important feature for older adults with mobility challenges. Also, in the pool, will be a new youth attraction such as a flowrider or other suitable activity, again showing HRM and the Sportsplex’s commitment to active youth.
The final major component of the renewal and revitalization will be a renovation of the spectator entrance to create a welcoming entrance to the facility with dynamic views of the major attractions within the facility. It will include a rock climbing wall, offering a great new feature to those wanting a more active and perceived high-risk experience. Finally this new entranceway will include a new front desk offering greatly increased security for the facility, addressing a serious concern facing all users of the Sportsplex.
Q. Why is there an emphasis on youth in the renewal and revitalization?
A. In the most recent studies done in Nova Scotia child and youth inactivity and obesity are critical health and social problems. Our own research with customers shows that there is little at the Sportsplex to excite and motivate youth other than Pirate’s Cove. A renewed and revitalized Sportsplex will include many options for this keeping age group involved. From a new attraction in the pool to sports in the gymnasium to specialized fitness equipment and a rock climbing wall, the Sportsplex will become a destination for children and youth seeking opportunities to be active, have fun and participate with their friends and family. Without these additions our community continues to be unable to address the crippling health crisis facing our children and youth.
Q. How does Sportsplex plan to ensure people can get access to the facility?
A. Facilities such as a fitness centre, running track, gymnasium, swimming pool, whirlpool and rock climbing wall provide diverse opportunities for all people in our community, including those with varied interests and abilities, to be active and healthy. Considering the challenges faced by many of the residents living in one of the Dartmouth Sportsplex’s primary catchment areas, North End Dartmouth, community access has been identified as a significant priority within the renewal and revitalization project. While the Dartmouth Sportsplex is an active partner in programs such as HRM Kids, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Family SOS, and Kids Sport, much more needs to done. As such, a renewed and revitalized Dartmouth Sportsplex mandate will include a significant commitment to community access. This new commitment will be realized through a variety of programming and scholarship type strategies thereby ensuring as many people as possible, regardless of circumstance, can use the facility.
Q. What about options for older adults?
A. Our society is entering a stage with massive growth in our older adult population. The older adult wants to live an active and robust lifestyle and they will be well served by the renewed and revitalized Dartmouth Sportsplex. A number of features will provide popular and critical health, fitness and recreation services. A new facility will include highly accessible entrances and exits as well as new features such as a ground level entry therapeutic whirlpool or a gymnasium, suitable for wheelchair sports such as basketball or badminton. The new fitness centre will include equipment specifically designed for aging populations. It will also provide opportunities to expand cardiac rehab programs and generally provide the maximum number of options for physical activity possible. New studio spaces will allow for exciting programs, such as health specific training classes or educational seminars, that currently cannot be offered simply due to lack of space. The gymnasium will provide opportunities for leisure sports and activities as well as "learn-to" programs. The combination of all of these services, in conjunction with our swimming pool, running track and arena, will provide one of the most comprehensive health, fitness and recreation experiences available.
Q. In the consultant’s report it is estimated that the revitalization will cost approximately $22,000,000 over three years. Why is the cost so high and is it really necessary?
A. In reviewing the consultant’s recommendations you will note that the renovations to the facility are extensive. The plan calls for significant structural changes to all areas of the building except the arena. There is new construction, in every major program and service area. We are looking far beyond a typical ‘spruce up’ and toward actually re-designing the facility and properly equipping it so that the Sportsplex is a fun, vital and vibrant place to come to and bring your family for the next 30 years. This means new spaces, new programs and new services that the community has said are a priority. Considering the excellent state of the facility’s infrastructure, and considering the cost of what a new facility would cost, it only make sense to renew and revitalize the Dartmouth Sportsplex.
Q. If I have suggestions, comments or want more information what should I do?
A. Many people, groups and organizations have provided comments, suggestions and feedback as part of the initial community consultation process. Sportsplex and HRM are excited about renewal and revitalization of the Dartmouth Sportsplex and welcome and encourage anyone with suggestions to please bring them forward. This is an exciting time for the community and a chance to have a significant long term impact of many different aspects of our lives