Home > News > News Releases > The City of Saint John seeks opportunities to partner with an organization for the sale or lease and operation of the Canada Games Aquatic Centre

The City of Saint John seeks opportunities to partner with an organization for the sale or lease and operation of the Canada Games Aquatic Centre

31-Jan-2020

The City of Saint John is seeking to engage with experienced organizations interested in the purchase or lease, and related operation, of the Canada Games Aquatic Centre, the Province’s only 50-metre swimming facility and one of only pools of its size in the Maritimes. The City is seeking a partnership for the purpose of providing an effective and high-quality operation of the facility for the benefit of the Greater Saint John Region. The formal and open request for expressions of interest was issued by the City on January 30, 2020 and will close on February 21, 2020.
 
“As a municipality, we are in a period of transition to a more sustainable future. Among many things, this means thinking outside of the box and looking at partnership opportunities to support the delivery of quality services across the region,” says Saint John Mayor Don Darling. 

As a multi-purpose health and wellness facility, the Canada Games Aquatic Centre is a hub of activity and the best location for all aquatic, fitness and wellness needs. The facility’s value to the region is evident as memberships and visits are on the rise. 

The Aquatic Centre is currently operated by the Saint John Aquatic Centre Commission.

“We have experienced a 10 per cent growth in membership year-over-year and the trend is expected to continue,” says Shalene Losier, chair of the Commission. “Hundreds of people and families visit each week to access everything the facility has to offer, from over 40 different fitness classes, swimming lessons, leisure and lane swims, the sauna, hot tub and steam room, the modern weight and cardio areas, and multiple meeting and multi-purpose rooms.”

Through the request for expressions of interest process, and any potential change in ownership and operations, the City’s objective is to ensure that the facility is financially sustainable while continuing to serve current and future patrons.

Deliberations and a decision to proceed with any interested party will only be made once options are explored and City staff report to Common Council with a business case that includes a strong vision for the facility and its users.

“We want to see the facility grow and realize its full potential while maximizing value for patrons and taxpayers, says Mayor Darling. “The Aquatic Centre contributes to the vibrancy and livability of our entire region, and the 130,000 people who call Greater Saint John home. We value the facility as a staple within our community, and encourage everyone to continue to support all regional facilities so they remain active and viable assets for us to enjoy.”   

The request for expressions of interest represents an initial step from the City to determine the level and amount of interest from private operators to invest in the City-owned regional facility; one of many initiatives presented to Common Council in October 2019 as an avenue to help achieve growth, cost-savings and long-term financial sustainability for Saint John.

“We are fortunate to have this type of facility in our city,” adds Shalene Losier, Chair of the Commission. “It attracts people to live and visit Saint John and provides a valuable service to the community. We believe that we will see success with any new partnership and are pleased to be a part of the solution to Saint John’s long-term growth and sustainability goals.”

The Aquatic Centre is one of five popular regional facilities in Saint John that have core operating costs subsidized by the Greater Saint John Regional Facilities Commission, with Saint John paying the largest share of the funding. Capital maintenance costs for the facility have traditionally fallen primarily to Saint John taxpayers. The City recently adopted a restructuring plan that, among many things, includes a review of the operations of some City-owned facilities, such as the Aquatic Centre, with the goal of reducing the City’s overall financial commitments to these facilities.  
 
“The private and not-for-profit sectors have a proven track record of operating large-scale facilities very successfully in communities across Canada and right here in New Brunswick. For the benefit of Saint John, we want to explore opportunities that could work with this facility,” says Mayor Darling.
  
The Canada Games Aquatic Centre was constructed to host the aquatic competitions during the Canada Games and opened its doors in 1985. Designed to accommodate up to 610 spectators, with pool-side change huts available from the pool deck, the Aquatic Centre has been the preferred location for regular swimming, water polo, and artistic swimming competitions and offers a first-class experience. 

The Canada Games Aquatic Centre is home to the competitive Saint John Fundy Tide Swim Club, the Saint John Water Polo Club, the Fundy Extreme Triathlon Club, and the Surf City Artistic Swimming Club.
 
Uniquely positioned in uptown Saint John, the Aquatic Centre is connected to nearby amenities through a fully-accessible pedway system. The “inside connection” links the facility to two major hotels, shopping, restaurants, bars, the famous Saint John City Market, indoor parking, and more.  

For further details on this unique opportunity, the Expression of Interest can be found on the City of Saint John website

 

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Corporate Communications
City of Saint John
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