This week, one of the oldest structures in town that once functioned as a church camp, day care facility and, most recently, a training ground for the fire department, will be demolished with council deciding what will go in its place sometime later this year.
Back in 2011, the Town announced its decision to construct a new day care facility next to Lawrence Grassi Middle School to replace the existing building on 17th Street, which needed a significant upgrade.
A public discussion hosted by members of council and administration took place this past November where ideas were floated regarding what should be done with the site once the building is demolished.
According to the Town’s manager of planning and development, Alaric Fish, demolition has been scheduled to take place this week while public input for the site’s next use is still being evaluated.
“It’s something that we’re looking at and moving forward with,” Fish explained. “We’ve been busy with other projects recently. We’re still planning to move forward on analysis and have further public discussions in the community relating to this site.
“Probably through January we’ll start going through the public’s comments and put together some proposals or options for the community to consider,” he added.
During the last public meeting, which involved members of the community suggesting ideas for potential uses once the day care is removed, an overwhelming number agreed the land should be kept as a green space.
Others indicated the community could use a recreational sports facility and, as Fish pointed out, the Town recently received another idea concerning the construction of such a complex.
“Around the public meeting there was a fair bit of attention given by the community,” he said. “We have had other ideas coming forward. We recently received a suggested idea to consider a new recreational facility.
“Right now we have no money for it,” he added. “That would be a big question that we would need answered.”
Despite a plan to put forth a proposal to council by spring, the Town is still looking for the public to submit ideas of what should be done with the site through engagecanmore.ca or by email at [email protected]
“If someone still made suggestions at this point, we would probably consider that, but not too much longer because we are eventually going to start putting together potential ideas for the site,” the manager explained.
Some of the comments heard at the meeting in November also pertained to the use of the site by wildlife, such as elk. However, a provincial fish and wildlife biologist noted on the website it’s better to discourage use of the site by wildlife due to its location next to housing.
There was also an almost unanimous decision to keep the outdoor skating rink that’s present on the site and the Town noted the rink’s preservation will likely be a priority when council makes its decision later this year.
Originally built during the 1940s, the building was commonly known as the red barn and was renovated several times by different tenants. The skating rink was later built for the public to use during the 1988 Winter Olympics.