The proposed municipally owned complex would be located in northeast Spruce Grove, near Century Road and the Yellowhead Highway.
It would feature two ice rinks plus space for other sporting events, trade shows, craft fairs, conferences, concerts, graduations, memorials, and award ceremonies. The city said a main multi-use seating bowl would accommodate up to 5,300 people and a second community pad would fit up to 200 spectators — seated or standing.
The city already has the TransAlta Tri Leisure Centre — a large rec centre opened in 2002 for the residents of Parkland County, Stony Plain and Spruce Grove — but said there is a need in the rapidly expanding community for more ice surfaces, as well as space for both local and commercial events.
Spruce Grove is among the 15 fastest-growing communities in Canada, according to the Statistics Canada 2016 census. Between 2011 and 2016, the city west of Edmonton grew by 30 per cent, from a population of 26,171 to 34,066 (an increase of 7,895).
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The SEC is part of a proposed development called “Westwind Centre,” which will include office buildings, retailers, a hotel, restaurants, an entertainment centre, transit park and ride, and residential development.
Work to develop the site has been underway for nearly a decade. In 2008, Spruce Grove began the process of assembling the 120 acres of land, part of which used to be a large dog park that has since been relocated.
In 2010, Spruce Grove entered into a development agreement with residential builder Beaverbrook and commercial real estate developer One Properties (formerly WAM Development Group), which is also building the downtown Edmonton ICE District, in partnership with the Katz Group.
“Nine years ago the city had a vision of creating a development that would be a destination, an amenity for our city as well as the region,” Spruce Grove Mayor Stuart Houston said.
“Fast forward to today and we can see that vision becoming closer to a reality. The potential this development has is above and beyond anything we have seen in the past. It will be the largest development in our history.”
The city said it has talked to the government of Alberta about having a community revitalization levy or some version thereof for the project.
Spruce Grove estimates the construction of the facility will generate almost 3,300 jobs, while the ongoing centre operations will result in another 1,200 jobs.
“The combination of the sport and event centre with the broader site development will see $310 million in construction spending,” Houston said.
“Once the development is complete, we expect the centre to generate $31.5 million per year in spending either in-facility or off-site as a result of people visiting the area.”
The city said the next step is to share the concept with the community, refining the design and solidifying partnerships. Two public presentations about the SEC will be held on Monday, April 3, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Horizon Stage in Spruce Grove.
Spruce Grove city council is expected to vote in January 2018 on whether to proceed with the project. If the project moves forward, the city said it plans to have the official opening in the fall of 2020.