Government officials have given the go-ahead on a new rec facility in Lac La Biche.
This past Tuesday, Minister of Infrastructure, Prasad Panda, the MLA of Fort McMurray-Lac La Biche, Laila Goodridge, and Lac La Biche Council members, were at the Bold Center making the official announcement that the recreational facility will be getting a swimming pool.
The cost for the pool will be $15 million, and there will be federal and provincial funding behind the new addition.
Minister Panda believes that putting money towards recreation will help enhance the community.
“To try and attract people to rural communities we look at infrastructure, in this particular case this is the right project to create a better quality of life,” said Panda.
“You need economy but you also need the infrastructure to bring people and we thought this was the right one, and for $15 million dollars we thought it was a good investment for the community.”
Although Lac La Biche already has a swimming pool at Portage College, Lac La Biche Mayor Omer Moghrabi, said it is coming to the end of its life, and the County is potentially looking to use the space for something else and bring more people to the Bold Center.
“The initial pool we are using now is outdated. Portage College’s pool is close to 40 years old, so we could repurpose the space and draw people to the Bold Center area,” said Moghrabi on The Day After Debrief.
“Three of the things that we look at when it comes to rural communities to attract people is first education, post-secondary is rare to have, second is medical services–that’s crucial. And then there’s the quality of life and recreation is part of it.”
There isn’t a set date for when construction for the pool will begin, but it is said to be sooner rather than later, and the construction will allow for 84 new job opportunities.
Along with the pool, there will be other amenities such as a water slide, diving board, kiddie pool, hot tub, viewing gallery, reception area, steam room, and sauna.
It was Minister Panda’s first visit to Lac La Biche, and for a community this size, he felt that the hamlet had a lot going for it and the pool will benefit the community both economically and recreationally for years to come.
“I have been out across the province and I am quite impressed with Lac La Biche, and I hope this actually helps to stabilize this community moving forward,” said Panda.
“A lot of communities are lacking in basic amenities and basic infrastructure. That’s why I am impressed with Lac La Biche. You have tourism, you have infrastructure, and a lot of communities don’t have the opportunity to build something like this.”