Weyburn’s CU Spark Centre is 90% completed

Construction is 90 per cent completed on the Credit Union Spark Centre, which will be Weyburn’s recreation and culture centre, being built alongside the Legacy Park Elementary School on Fifth Street.

City council was given an update on where construction is at, and heard also from representatives of the Weyburn Credit Union, which unveiled the logo that will be going on the building. The Credit Union is paying $1 million over a 20-year period for the naming rights to the centre.

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Don Shumlich, CEO of the Weyburn Credit Union, said, “What you have done with this project is simply amazing. … We are happy to be a part of this initiative to make the community better.”

He added that when the pandemic is all over, the community will be able to make good use of this facility. “When that time comes, and it will, this facility will be a perfect way to connect and re-engage with each other.”

The director of leisure services, Andrew Crowe, provided the update on what has been done at the facility since June, noting the outdoor rink pad has been poured, with the exterior building envelope mostly done and exterior landscaping well underway, and most of the asphalt paving is complete.

All of the landscaping, concrete and asphalt will be done before snowfall, and the installation of the field turf surface and the rubberized flooring for the track and leisure areas will go in soon. The facility construction should be done early in the new year, and then the City will begin to add their specialized features before the facility is able to open in September of 2021.

This includes installation of boards for the outdoor rink, installation of the indoor play equipment and of the simulators, installation of specialized equipment for the arts area and furniture.

“So we have a very busy year ahead,” said Crowe, noting the project is on track to be open on time. Wright Construction has now been on the site for 616 days with 172 days remaining for their part of the project.

In terms of funding, the City has received the following commitments: Weyburn Credit Union naming rights, $1 million; major sponsor of the play and climb area, MNP, $150,000; dressing room sponsor, Whitecap Resources, $20,000. Grants include the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund grant of $150,000, and the federal gas tax in the amount of $1,282,660, for a total of $2,602,660 as of Oct. 7.

Crowe advised that a video tour has been uploaded onto the City website, and the public can view it to see the current state of the construction.

• In other council business, a development permit application for a liquor store was defeated by a 5-2 vote, but direction was given to administration to try and work out a way for the store to be located at 1623 First Avenue, the former location of Olympia Fitness.

This location is between Calvary Baptist Church and the Knight Dodge dealership, and council received three letters of objection to the location of a liquor store there, including from the two churches in that vicinity, Calvary Baptist and Silver Heights Bible Church.

The proposal is for both a liquor store and a warehouse area for distribution.

Planning and development coordinator Janine Fletcher noted that a warehouse is neither a permitted use nor discretionary use in that part of the city, plus the plans indicated trucks would be driving over a city-owned strip of buffer land to pull up to the warehouse at the back.

She recommended refusal of the permit, noting the proposal is not compatible with the existing neighbourhood with proximity to two churches and residential area.

On behalf of the Baptist Church, as well as the Co-operative Playschool which is based in their facility, pastor Tim MacKinnon spoke to council.

“We are not against this business, just so they know that. We want to be a community-based church, so we are not against any business,” he began, outlining his concerns.

“We did have concerns in the area of safety,” he said, pointing out they house the playschool, plus children come to the building for piano lessons also.

He noted their parking lot is used as a thoroughfare a lot, and having a liquor store next door would only make that worse.

MacKinnon also noted that he provides counselling to people that include those trying to overcome addiction to alcohol, and having a liquor outlet next door would not be good.

For the part of council members, they did not address his concerns at all, but were unsure how to support this application as the use of the back alley was a problem.

“I’m between a rock and a hard spot. I don’t want to deter business,” said Coun. Winston Bailey, asking if there have been problems with big trucks using the alleyway.

City engineer Jennifer Wilkinson said the city has had to do a lot of extra maintenance in that alley because of large heavy trucks.

“This is a tough one,” said Coun. Dick Michel. “The problem I have is there’s condos nearby. Is there any way we can compromise to have a different arrangement? I don’t want to say no.”

After considering bringing this matter back later, Coun. Mel Van Betuw made the suggestion of holding a special meeting prior to the municipal election, to try and work out a different arrangement.