Editorial: The big one

City hall has its own version of the next big one brewing - the next big budget city project

Following October’s earthquake, many cities in B.C. began talking about the Next Big One, an expected earthquake of such a size as to be devastating in its impact and after effects.

City hall, however, has another version of the Next Big One brewing – the next big budget civic project.

So far, it looks as if that’s to be the aquatic centre thanks to a report outlining a combination of serious deficiencies in the current structure and potential for recreational improvements. The cost? Northwards of $5 million. But that’s just an estimate.

Yet for those keeping count, an extensive aquatic centre reno would make for two multi-million sports-associated city projects in a row, the first being the addition of a second sheet of ice and other improvements to the main arena building.

Granted, a rejuvenated aquatic centre would build on the provision of low-cost recreation – not everyone can afford to ski or skate.

But wait. There are those in the cultural and arts community rightfully wondering when it might be their turn. The city, for instance, desperately requires a museum building.

No one wants to throw out the baby with the bath water (or pool water, in this case). City council would be wise to draw up two aquatic centre to-do lists. One necessary for health and safety and the other of things that would be nice to have but aren’t necessary in order to have a proper debate about what to do next.

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