The Calgary Construction Association (CCA) is strongly supporting a proposed $380-million multi-sport fieldhouse development in Foothills Athletic Park and making a pitch for the province to get in on the act.
The CCA has sent a letter to Alberta Infrastructure Minister Peter Guthrie, noting the project exemplifies the kind of forward-thinking and community-focused initiatives that will define the future of the province.
“We firmly believe that this project represents a significant opportunity for both Calgary and the province,” says the letter from CCA president and chief operating officer Bill Black and Frano Cavar, the association’s director of government relations.
“We are pleased to acknowledge that the City of Calgary has already taken the initiative to dedicate funds to this essential project, recognizing the numerous benefits it will bring to our community. We believe that the fieldhouse development aligns with several key priorities, including infrastructure development, community well-being, and economic growth, making it a worthwhile investment for our province.”
The CCA says it understand the significant financial commitments required for such a project, but believes the benefits far outweigh the costs.
Specifically, the CCA asks the provincial government to join forces with the City of Calgary in supporting the project.
The project would be a large component of the city’s Foothills Area Redevelopment Plan and a central element of Alberta’s 2030 Commonwealth Games bid.
The project received a boost recently when a city council committee voted in support of an amenity plan for the facility. The city is working on next steps for the project, including defining the development process and procurement strategy.
The project will consist of a track and field area, gym, indoor artificial turf field, and spaces for more sports, and seating. Construction will take five years.
The city has committed $109 million. Work will now begin on creating detailed designs for the development and figuring out how to connect the project with nearby transportation and infrastructure.
However, to move the project forward, additional funding will be needed from the senior levels of government.
In an interview, Black says the project would likely provide in the neighbourhood of 200 to 300 jobs for construction workers and the industry throughout the life of the build, but it’s important for other reasons.
“This is something that many cities have, including Edmonton,” he says. “It would bring the kind of facility, quite frankly, that a city that purports to be a world competitor and the best city to live in, should have.”
The CCA letter notes, “Oftentimes, projects like the proposed fieldhouse development are massive undertakings that will see hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the construction industry. We think of the subsections of the design and build industry that will be involved: architects, engineers, estimators, electricians, cement truck operators, sheet metal workers, drywallers, tapers, painters – the list goes on.”
Cavar says the fieldhouse project is about civic pride but also about creating a city that has amenities for people to live, work and play.
While excited about the fieldhouse project, Cavar says he’s also enthused about the follow-on investment it could create.
“It’s supposed to be the anchor of the Foothills Area Redevelopment Plan, which is calling for an increase in residential construction, commercial activity, etcetera, which kind of plays into that concept of further-on jobs and investment in the commercial construction industry – and likewise creating another landmark area that all Calgarians can be proud of.”
The CCA has not had a response to its letter, but Cavar says the government is well aware of the concern.
“This government is relatively new so it will be interesting to see in their next budget cycle whether they’re willing to fund it and put some interest behind it. As of yet, it’s my understanding that they’re looking into it.”