Multi-Purpose Community Centre Project

The City of Fernie was unsuccessful in our applications for grant funding for the construction of a new Multi-Purpose Community Centre (MPCC).

Given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, this project is on hold and options will be reassessed following the public health emergency.

Looking Towards a Multi-Purpose Community Centre

The City is exploring Federal and Provincial funding programs to construct a Multi-Purpose Community Centre. The proposed facility would be incorporated into the existing Fernie Aquatic Centre and would include:

  • Arena
  • Curling
  • Gymnasium 
  • Multi-Purpose Space


Concept Design 

Site Concept 

Why a New Facility? 

Since 2014, the City of Fernie has been integrating asset management practices into the City's budget process. The basic premise of asset management is that the City builds and maintains assets that provide sustainable services the community identify as being valuable and worthy of financial support. The initial phase of the asset management program identified a significant portion of City-owned facilities are approaching or at the end of their life expectancy and therefore, a strategic investment/replacement program is required. 

  • The current Asset Management Program has estimated that 58% of City facilities are in a deficit condition and require replacement. By replacing the proposed facilities with a new Multi-Purpose Community Centre, we see our facility deficit reduced to an estimated 15%.
  • Combining the stand-alone facilities into one Multi-Purpose Community Centre (MPCC) will create a centralized hub that serves the communities social, cultural, recreational, health and wellness needs. 
  • The new facility will have more flexibility to accommodate increased use, reduce accessibility barriers and be managed in a more cost-effective manner.

Financial Implications 

New provincial and federal funding was announced in the Fall of 2018 specific to community, recreation and culture infrastructure which could pay for approximately 75% to 90% of all design and construction costs of a new MPCC. The City applied for grants through 2 available funding streams to reduce the financial burdens of infrastructure replacement on the taxpayer.

The cost to replace city infrastructure rises every year, and this project is estimated to cost $72,524.200.  Based on the funding model of the current grants submission, the highest contribution for the City of Fernie towards the proposed project is $19,324,204. If the grant submission is approved,  the City will look for partnerships, sponsorships and donations to assist with the cost of the MPCC.

Community Approval 

The City is still awaiting news on the MPCC grant application.  On Monday, May 13, Council confirmed a decision on the electoral approval process that will be conducted should we be successful in obtaining grant funding.  The decision confirmed that Assent Voting (referendum) will be used to gain electoral approval.  Further information will be shared as it becomes available.  

Assent Voting (Referendum) 

A voting process similar to a municipal election where eligible voters fill out a ballot indicating YES they approve the Loan Authorization Bylaw or NO they do not approve the Loan Authorization Bylaw. The outcome is decided by majority vote.

May 13, 2019 Multi-Purpose Community Centre Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2372 Electoral Approval Process Report to Council 

May 13, 2019 Regular Council Meeting Minutes 

Engagement Activities 

Staff have hosted several public engagement sessions since January 2019 for residents to attend and ask any questions they may have about the propsed MPCC.  Additionally, multiple stakeholder sessions have taken place for groups to voice their concerns and ask any questions.  From these sessions, we have developed a summary of frequently asked questions to better inform our community on discussions we have had. 

Multi-Purpose Community Centre Strategy Update - Report to Council May 21, 2019

Summary of Engagement Events: 

December 14, 2018 – Stakeholder meeting with facility users and user groups

   • Approximately 50 attendees joined the City and Architectural Designer for a presentation on the funding opportunity and the City’s preliminary plans.

January – Ongoing – Print & Online Informational Materials

  • Information Brochure Development
  • Website Page created –
  • Information Boards created and set up at Aquatic Facility
  • Local newspaper advertisements
  • Facebook posts to inform public on MPCC Project

March 4, 2019 – Budget Open House at Fernie Aquatic Centre 

  • City staff and Council hosted a Budget Open House for the community to review the Five-Year Financial Plan and the Multi-Purpose Community Centre
  • Approximately 45-60 attendees

March 13, 2019 – Spring Registration Fair Information Booth 

  • City staff attended Spring Registration Fair to provide information to the public on the MPCC project and the alternative approval process
  •  Approximately 60 people attended

 May 7, 2019 – MPCC Information Session at Fernie Seniors Centre

  • City staff provided informal presentation to group and answered questions
  • Approximately 30 people attended 

May 9, 2019 – Booth at Emergency Preparedness Workshop at Fernie Arts Station 

  • City staff set up display boards to provide information to attendees.  Information brochures were available. 

June 11, 2019 - MPCC Information Session at Fernie Seniors Centre

  • City staff provided informal presentation to group and answered questions
  • Approximately 30 people attended 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1)      At what point will residents and stakeholders get to provide input into the design of the Multi-Purpose Community Centre?

  • When the funding decision has been made and if successful in the grant application process, further citizen and stakeholder engagement will be conducted during the detailed design process.

2)      Will arts and culture be included in the Multi-Purpose Community Centre? What about an arts theatre or conference centre?

  • The purpose of the proposed MPCC would be to incorporate a space that is adaptable and inclusive to the community. Although the MPCC design does not include a theatre, it will have space for arts, cultural, social and recreation/sport activities.  Discussions for new infrastructure in the community would require a feasibility study, service level review and should be part of a broader cultural strategy independent of this project.

3)      Why should we replace the current Arena, Curling Club and Community Centre?

  • The 2013 Leisure Services Master Plan identified that the current facilities are at their end of usable life and require replacement.

4)      Has the City reviewed the facility space allocation and what required square footage is needed for each group?

  • The space allocation process will be reviewed in closer detail throughout the detailed design process.

5)      How will the community vote on the proposed borrowing for the Multi-Purpose Community Centre?

  • On May 13, 2019 Council approved that the City would seek electoral approval through the assent voting process (referendum) by motion.  The referendum would not take place until the grant funding is approved and is conducted similar to a general election. 

Meeting minutes including Council Motion for Electoral Approval Process available here.

6)      What is the cost of the Assent Voting Process?

  • The estimated cost for the Assent Voting is between $14,000-$17,000. The Multi-Purpose Community Centre Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2372 Electoral Approval Process Report to Council is available here.  The report highlights both approval process.  

7)      What will happen to the old facilities if the funding is approved and the project is voted for by the community?

  • The future of the existing recreation facilities on the highway will be a larger discussion when the funding decision is made.  Council is considering moving forward with a property appraisal on the Arena, Curling Club and Community Centre to inform decisions related to further investment or de-investment in these properties.

 Questions or Comments?

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